The US Navy is researching creating jet fuel from seawater:

Dorner and Co have been working on mixing CO2 and hydrogen to produce light hydrocarbons which could then be processed into jet fuel. As jet fuel is rich in energy, doing this uses a lot of energy – and even then, a lot of the CO2 and hydrogen actually turns to methane.

But Dorner and his colleagues have managed to get the amount of methane produced down to 30 per cent or so, using special catalysts. The “sea water” bit comes from the fact that Dorner has also noted that there’s a fair bit of CO2 in sea water, plus hydrogen too if you have even more energy to crack water molecules apart.

Thus it would actually be useful if you could build a plant on a carrier which could scoop CO2 out of the water, crack hydrogen from it too, and combine these to top off the ship’s jet-fuel tanks. The carrier would be able to keep dominating airspace without needing to break off and replenish its supplies so often.

I can already see the posters:


Update: See Information Dissemination for a more informed discussion of the technology.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    I know AIR LANT/PAC envy SUB LANT/PAC in all possible ways, but this is a vary dubious way to get your highest value asset called a “Boomer”.

  • Confused

    Well, if it could work, it would help reduce the time spent resupplying jet fuel to aircraft carriers, and that’s a good thing.

    Aircraft carriers are going to be far from US ports for extended periods of time and should be as self-sufficient as possible. The more things a carrier can do to resupply its air wing, the better.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    Didn’t aircraft fuel systems fire protection inadequaciess have a lot to do with the loss of some Japanese Carriers?

    The fire protection systems associated with this system are going to have to be substantial. Might cost more that the rest of the system.

    I just hope we don’t write another safety precautions, procedures and systems manual in the usual ink…sailors’ blood.

  • AJ Wagner

    With the promising advances in algal biodiesel already being tested by several airlines, wouldn’t a carrier-based algae bioreactor using seawater make more sense than dumping reactor energy into cracking seawater into hydrogen?