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Author Topic: Hydcrocarbons from SEAWATER (CARBON NEUTRAL) for less than $3 a gallon!  (Read 158 times)

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Navy lab makes gasoline from seawater, as low as $3 per gallon :o ;D

Keith PickeringFollow .

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) announced today that they have manufactured long-chain hydrocarbons -- that is essentially gasoline -- entirely from seawater, and used the fuel to power a flying model aircraft.

Using a patented electrochemical process, they have simultaneously extracted dissolved CO2 ions and created hydrogen gas from seawater. The resulting mixture of gases is then reformed into long-chain hydrocarbons in a chemical reaction.

Last year I diaried about a 2010 study done by the NRL that suggested a very similar process was feasible for manufacturing jet fuel at sea, using excess electricity from a dedicated nuclear-powered factory ship. The key to the process is the realization that a liter of seawater contains 140 times as much CO2 as a liter of air. In seawater, nearly all of the CO2 is actually in the form of bicarbonate ions, which should make extraction from water fairly straightforward because of the electrical charge they carry. ;D

So it's a pleasant surprise to see that the Navy not only was paying attention to their own research, but they have also moved from theory to practice and have actually manufactured real fuel using a similar process.

One big caveat: obviously, there is no free lunch, and this process requires energy as input. But since it is entirely feasible to use non-fossil energy sources to power the process, the fuel created could be essentially fossil-free (carbon neutral) gasoline. The oceans and atmosphere exchange CO2 readily in massive quantities, so taking it from one place is functionally the same as taking it from the other.

The NRL press release contains this interesting quote:


Using an innovative and proprietary NRL electrolytic cation exchange module (E-CEM), both dissolved and bound CO2 are removed from seawater at 92 percent efficiency by re-equilibrating carbonate and bicarbonate to CO2 and simultaneously producing H2.

Note that they're not specifically claiming the H2 was electrolyzed by splitting water. That's because the bicarbonate ion is formed when a CO2 molecule combines with a OH- (hydroxyl) ion, forming the bicarbonate ion HCO3-. So there is at least the theoretical possibility that the NRL process might run something like this:
2(HCO3-) --> 2(CO2) + H2 + O2 + 2(e-)

I'm not enough of a chemist to know whether there is an energy advantage in creating the hydrogen this way rather than by electrolysis of water -- but I'm betting some Kossack out there can figure it out and post in the comments. If there is, that would be huge.

In the 2010 study, a cost analysis of a jet fuel-from-seawater factory ship came in at about $6 per gallon. But about half the capital cost was for the ship. so presumably a beached reactor would have been able to manufacture fossil-free jet fuel for roughly half that.

The NRL press release seems to buy into that estimate, putting the cost of their new process at between $3 and $6 per gallon. (The implication is that the total energy inputs are comparable to those in the 2010 study, which assumed that all the required H2 would be made from electrolysis.)
Originally posted to The Numerate Historian on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kosowatt and Climate Change SOS.


Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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Inconvenient Technology (for the Fossil Fuel Industry)       

Device patented last year makes fuel from sea water
You may want to check this out. This thing ACTUALLY WORKS in the real world. All you need is a bunch of solar panels on a ship (in this case, it's a US Navy aircraft carrier).

I'm sure the fossil fuel industry is NOT interested in this being given to the public. It was patented by NREL. Consequently, the government can keep us from using it FOREVER (national security is one of those convenient excuses that makes it legal to keep an invention out of public hands      ).

But the point is, IT WORKS. There is NO DISCUSSION as to whether it works or not, even if somebody will probably will show up here and poo poo it with some bullshit about the "superior" ERoEI of fossil fuels. ::) That doesn't fly here because solar energy is plentiful in the ocean AND the RATE of production on a ship does not require refinery rapidity. This can END all use of fuel requirements for ships now met by the petroleum industry.  :icon_mrgreen: So, I'm sure the fossil fuelers are going out of their way to make sure the public never gets its hands on this.   

I've read about it and the excuse given for not going whole hog with this is that it's sort of an energy quandary. The process requires more energy than they get out of it from the fuel (mostly for jet fuel but ANY hydrocarbon can be synthetically produced with it). Since dissolved Carbonates from CO2 in sea water are used to make the fuel, it's carbon neutral jet fuel that is produced! The CATCH is that, if you use bunker fuel to run a diesel generator that produces the electricity to make the jet fuel, you use MORE bunker fuel that the jet fuel you get out of it. The OBVIOUS solution, that they don't seem to want to talk about for some reason  ;), is getting the electricity from the sun to run the Electrolytic Cation Exchange Module.

YES, the amount of electricity this process requires can EASILY be met and exceeding by ship board solar power (ESPECIALLY on an aircraft Carrier!).

And NO, they don't need to get it from the nuclear reactor, boys and girls.  ;D

So, if they GET the electricity (which does the work) from the sun, it DOESN'T MATTER that it uses a lot of energy to make the fuel.

And, anyway, if they ran the energy numbers of transporting fossil fuels to the ships (as long as Palloy, K-Dog or MKing aren't doing that "math"      ), it would ACTUALLY require a whole lot less energy to get that fuel made on the ship than a full cycle ERoEI of fossil fuel based fuels from the well to the refinery to the ship. 

THIS s the final NAIL in the fossil fuel coffin. 

NOW the only recourse they have that can keep their polluting business model going is in-your-face government corruption and the deep sixing of this invention by cynically, fraudulently and mendaciously claiming it can't be released (or even used on military ships!) because of "national security". 

IT'S NOW OVER for the "high energy density" makes fossil fuel better" argument BECAUSE these are carbon neutral HYDROCARBON FUELS of FAR SUPERIOR QUALITY. WHY? Because they DO NOT have high sulfur or other crude oil contaminants to strip out in the production. This is TOP GRADE JP-"place a number here for different jet fuel grades" (e.g. JP-4). They can make TOP GRADE GASOLINE (they made gasoline for a P-51 Mustang engine) from it too! 

NRL patents process for turning seawater into fuel 

By Kevin McCaney

Jun 08, 2016

The Naval Research Laboratory has been working on finding a nearly unlimited source of fuel—the sea—and now has the validation of a patent to show for it.

NRL’s Material Science and Technology Division has received a patent for its Electrolytic Cation Exchange Module (E-CEM), which separates carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and then producing  hydrocarbons to be used as fuel.

Tests of the process have to date been conducted on a small scale—in April 2014, E-CEM was used to create fuel of a scale model of the P-51 Mustang—but the process has the potential to scale up to practical applications, NRL said in a release. 

“A ship's ability to produce a significant fraction of the battle group's fuel for operations at sea could reduce the mean time between refueling, and increase the operational flexibility and time on station,” said Cmdr. Felice DiMascio of the Naval Reserve, one of five contributors and inventors named on the patent. “Reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with the potential to increase the Navy's energy security and independence, with minimal impact on the environment, were key factors in the development of this program.”

NRL currently is scaling up its process to create larger amounts of fuel, although it’s still a long way from being able to power, say, a boat or a plane. “Building on the success of the first exchange module, we have scaled-up the carbon capture process to improve efficiency and substantially increase feedstock production,” said Dr. Heather Willauer, NRL research chemist. “Using a scaled-up, second generation E-CEM prototype, we will substantially increase CO2 and H2 production capable of producing up to one gallon of fuel per day, an increase nearly 40 times greater than with the earlier generation E-CEM.”

Researchers at NRL's Marine Corrosion Facility in Key West, Fla., are working to optimize the two processes involved in fuel production—the recovery of hydrogen and CO2, and their synthesis into hydrocarbons.
NRL said it recently partnered with a commercial entity to test its catalyst as it switches from its initial small plug flow chemical reactor to a large-scale chemical reactor, and hopes to have the two processes working at Key West by the end of the year.

In addition to DiMascio and Willauer, the other researchers named on the patent are Dennis Hardy and Frederick Williams of NRL and Kathleen Lewis of the Office of Naval Research.

About the Author

 Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


Agelbert NOTE: The "end of the year" was 4 months ago. Sure, Trump's wrecking crew is going to squelch this thing on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.      BUT, ANYBODY (Hi Palloy  ;)) that jumps on the low production rate or some other bit of hair splitting, straw grasping bullshit to claim "it won't work" or "it's not ready for prime time" is making a baseless argument simply BECAUSE, if this did not WORK, they could NEVER HAVE PATENTED IT!

THE INSTANT the fossil fuel industry learned of that patent, THIS WAS THEIR REACTION. 

THEN they went into overdrive to kill this fantastic invention. I hope your realize that this also represents a method of keeping the oceans from destructive acidification, as well as rapid CO2 sequestration if scaled up.  :o  ;D

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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