News / Science & Technology

US Navy Develops Fuel from Seawater

U.S. Navy researchers say they've been able to power a model airplane using fuel derived from seawater. (U.S. Navy)
U.S. Navy researchers say they've been able to power a model airplane using fuel derived from seawater. (U.S. Navy)

Related Articles

Kerry Says Energy Should Not Be Used as a Weapon

‘No nation should use energy to stymie a people's aspirations,’ says US top diplomat after Russia increases natural gas prices for Ukraine

Libyan Rebels Agree to End Blockade at 2 Oil Ports

Reopening of facilities expected to boost Libya's weak government, which has been struggling to assert itself for nearly three years

Video Remote South Africa Village Gets Electricity for First Time -- in 2014

Electricity is finally coming to the village through a private initiative led by the University of Johannesburg
VOA News
The U.S. Navy may have discovered a way to make fuel from seawater.

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory say they’ve developed a prototype technology for the “recovery of carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and conversion to a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.”

Using the technique, the Navy was able to fly a model airplane with an internal combustion engine using fuel from seawater, according to the Navy, which called the technology “game changing.”

The process extracts carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the seawater and converts those gases into “liquid hydrocarbons by a metal catalyst in a reactor system,” according to the Navy.

Despite the success, the technology could be  seven to 10 years away from commercial viability, meaning the process would have to produce jet fuel at the price of roughly 78 cents to about $1.60 per liter, according to the Navy.

A Navy admiral responsible for fleet readiness and logistics told the UK’s Daily Mail that the Navy was in “very challenging times” regarding energy.

“We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,” he told the Daily Mail. “Basically, we've treated energy like air, something that's always there and that we don't worry about too much.”

Here's a video about the test flight:

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Big D from: Michigan
April 11, 2014 3:16 PM
This is exciting stuff, and I look forward to hearing any detail that lends credence to it.

I'm a little pessimistic about the DoD right now, as they're obviously caught up in the whole "save the planet from CO2" craze/y brought to us by the religious secularists.

Why else would they be trying to make bio-jet fuel? Why else would they build "next generation warships" powered by diesel engines (radiophobia)? Nuclear powered ships are a safe strategic advantage.

by: Marvin McConoughey from: Oregon
April 11, 2014 5:44 AM
I don't yet believe the claims made for converting sea water to fuel at an affordable price. If true, the potential goes far beyond of merely military value, but the details given thus far are not convincing. Sufficient technical detail must be presented in a verifiable format before the claims will attract widespread acceptance.

by: tin shein from: Yangon, Burma
April 10, 2014 3:22 AM
What a wonder to hear that the US Navy has succeeded in converting seawater into jet fuel! Keep up your research work so we won't need to depend on the ever-dwindling oil reserves around the world. If it succeeds in producing it on a commercial scale, the dependence of the US and EU on the crisis-striven Middle East will be over in the not distant future. Efforts should be made to shorten the time to be taken to put that fuel on the market in sufficient commercial quantities to reduce the production costs to manageable levels comparable to current oil prices.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs