USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Departs For Deployment

Today’s quote is actually a reader comment made in response to a news tidbit we featured in a recent morning roundup about the US Navy turning seawater into fuel. We remarked the piece was a bit light on details, so one of our readers helped fill in the technical aspects that, as he puts it, are just simple chemistry.

“Converting seawater is simply chemistry to an aircraft carrier. Carriers operate on nuclear power and the reactor energy output is designed to be greater than energy needed to drive the ship at flank speed – an output that is rarely used. Thus one only has to convert all that extra energy to hydrogen by electrolysis of water (sea water). The process is only about 40 percent efficient but when you have basically free energy, so what. Then you add the hydrogen to carbon dioxide, also extracted from the water, and get CO and water. You then add more hydrogen to the CO and get either methanol or a hydrocarbon compound depending on the chemical path used. It is done in many refineries, every day, all over the world. And a few steps later, you have jet fuel, a supply that you normally get from an oiler but now you make on site. It is just simple chemistry, I learned this more than 5 decades ago, applied to a current need.

No magic here. Nor any violation of thermodynamic laws.

It can also provide a Carbon-neutral fuel for use – they should be supplying the oilers!” – California Hal