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Benefits of Navy-USAF Teamwork: Navy to Turn Seawater into Jet Fuel

Written by on Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Navy has an overabundance of one thing: water. For thousands of years, water (and the wind that bodies of water help generate) has been the only thing that sailors need to get around. Now that we’re in the 21st century, wind and water have taken a back seat to oil, which is lubricating the gears of the modern military. But that all might change. The US Navy is experimenting with a way to transform seawater into jet fuel.

It almost sounds too good to be true. If the Navy could actually pull this off, they would have an endless supply of jet fuel. But is this just fiction or is it an actual possibility?


Water, as we all know, is H2O. Ocean chemistry is a bit more complicated than that. It’s got dozens of other elements and chemicals, including salt (NaCl) and carbon (C). Jet fuel is made out of CO2 and H2. So, the Navy is surrounded by all the components of jet fuel — they just need to figure out a way to disassemble the molecules and put the atoms back together in a different way. Once they’ve got CO2 and H2, they can transform the chemicals into jet fuel through a gas-to-liquid process.

Dr. Heather Willauer of the US Naval Research Laboratory explained, ”The reduction and hydrogenation of CO2 to form hydrocarbons is accomplished using a catalyst that is similar to those used for Fischer-Tropsch reduction and hydrogenation of carbon monoxide.”


That’s probably a bit too technical for most readers, but Willauer also described the tangible order diazepam benefits of this new system: “The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden and increasing the Navy’s energy security and independence.” She added, “With such a process, the Navy could avoid the uncertainties inherent in procuring fuel from foreign sources and/or maintaining long supply lines.” Initial studies suggest that seawater-to-fuel processes would cost somewhere between $3 to $6 to produce.

Cheaper, greener energy that requires fewer resupply trips and reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil? Yes, please.

Putting all of these incredible benefits aside, it’s also tempting to think that we could eventually adapt other machines, such as ship motors, tanks, or vehicles, to run on jet fuel. In theory, that would enable the entire US military to run on sea water.

This is a good example of the close relationship between the US Navy and the US Air Force. They may exist as independent branches within the DoD, but any advances in the Navy could fundamentally aid the Air Force, and vice versa. What’s good for the military goose is good for the DoD gander, it seems. Expertise in aviation can similarly aid members of the Navy and the Coast Guard in their duties. Sailors might want to look to Air Force experts for a fresh opinion or an innovative solution. For that, you should look to Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. — they can provide valuable services, whether you fly through the skies or sail across the seas.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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