Announcing a major breakthrough, Navy researchers for the first time have converted seawater into CO2 and hydrogen, which could be used to produce jet fuel within a decade.
In the next seven to ten years, the military will be able to run jets, ships, and other vehicles on a fuel derived from seawater, according to Heather Willauer, a research chemist with the Naval Research Laboratory or NRL.
“It has to meet military specifications to go into a jet,” Willauer said, at the annual Sea Air Space Expo near Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. “We haven’t actually made it to the specifications stage yet. But we know we’re in the hydro-carbon region and it shouldn’t be very difficult to meet that specification.”
The breakthrough, though impressive, does not mean that we will be filling jets and ships with seawater in the very near future. The fixed-bed catalysis process Willauer and her team used to recover the hydrogen and the CO2 from the seawater is highly energy-intensive, requiring almost twice as much electricity to convert the water into fuel components as the process yields in terms of power. Catalysis is a process that combines chemicals, energy and pressure to accelerate chemical reactions. At current energy pricing, the cost of the fuel is between $3 to $7 per gallon. Willauer says the numbers should get better in the years ahead.
With a stable and, hopefully, clean electricity source, seawater-based fuel could reduce dependence on oil or other polluting fuel sources, first in the military and then elsewhere. “The idea is really from a logistics standpoint, you’re no longer dependent on foreign fossil fuel,” said Willauer. “You can make fuel where and when you need so you can stay on station, and it elevates that burden cost of fuel, of carrying it to different parts of the world.”
What We're Following See More »
One of the main reasons for the recent Obamacare premium hikes is that many potential enrollees have simply decided to pay the tax penalty for remaining uninsured, rather than pay for insurance. More than 8 million people paid the penalty in 2014, and preliminary numbers for 2015 suggest that the number approaches 6 million. "For the young and healthy who are badly needed to make the exchanges work, it is sometimes cheaper to pay the Internal Revenue Service than an insurance company charging large premiums, with huge deductibles."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”
The Democratic National Committee sued the Republican National Committee in U.S. District Court in New Jersey for aiding GOP nominee Donald Trump as he argues that the presidential election is "rigged." The DNC claims "that Trump's argument is designed to suppress the vote in minority communities."
"Two chief fundraisers for the Clinton Foundation pressed corporate donors to steer business opportunities to former President Bill Clinton as well, according to a hacked memo published Wednesday by WikiLeaks. The November 2011 memo from Douglas Band, at the time a top aide to Mr. Clinton, outlines extensive fundraising efforts that Mr. Band and a partner deployed on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and how that work sometimes translated into large speaking fees and other paid work for Mr. Clinton."