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(Christian Science Monitor)   The Navy has created a vehicle that runs on water. No really   (csmonitor.com) divider line 72
    More: Interesting, naval ship, jet fuel, seawaters, opinion pieces, energy sectors, NRL, hydrogen, Christian Science Monitor  
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7459 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Oct 2012 at 5:43 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-03 11:26:02 AM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Next they'll figure out a way to make smart bombs from bull kelp.


You'd think dropping a 500 pound bundle of bull kelp on a position would be pretty effective at clearing it out. It would be in the same class as the concrete bomb, a heavy object that trashes a building but doesn't go all "500 foot kill zone"
 
2012-10-03 11:56:21 AM

gozar_the_destroyer: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: dittybopper: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Also, this is the kind of thing you can do easily when you already have a nuclear power station on tap and convenient access to seawater (ie, you're on a supercarrier in the middle of the ocean). The energy required to extract the hydrogen from the seawater alone is equal to about a gallon of gas burned per litre of fuel produced. It's not an energy-efficient process by any means.

Correct.

This would be a boon to nuclear powered aircraft carriers, which don't need to refuel to power themselves, but they do need to refuel to power their aircraft. If you could make jet fuel instead of having to have a vulnerable tanker haul it around for replenishment, you would save a bunch of money (don't need to man and operate the tanker), reduce potential vulnerability (the tanker itself, and the carrier during replenishment), reduce the carbon footprint (the tankers are generally oil-fired), and reduce the signature of the carrier group.

It's a win-win all around, provided you can cram it into a carrier relatively safely.

Next they'll figure out a way to make smart bombs from bull kelp.

Until we have robots fully fight our wars it won't feel like the 21st century.


It's too bad the article didn't say any of that. Almost certainly this is what it meant but the article is so poorly written and has a picture of a non-nuclear ship that one is led to believe it is to power the ship itself. Almost certainly not. It's for the carriers. Presumably also the same process could produce fuel for the other ships too with just a slight alteration of the chemistry. It's always nice to have a nearly inexhaustible supply of electricity on hand.
 
2012-10-03 12:33:41 PM

dittybopper: Only a handful of nations have produced nuclear submarines (the US, UK, France, Russia, and China). Only *ONE* has gone with a completely nuclear submarine force: The US. Many other nations *COULD* have nuke boats, if they wanted to, but they've been researching (cheaper) non-nuclear AIP options like fuel cells.


Also, it's important to consider that the nuke boats also come with a few other drawbacks. They have to be larger to accommodate the reactor and they also tend to be noisier than a conventional diesel-electric when running on batteries. Being smaller, the SSKs can operate in shallower water closer in to shore, require a much smaller crew complement (reducing operating costs), and generally are superior for the littoral areas.

The Virginia class submarines (the US' current SSN class in production) runs about USD $1.6b for each one. That's a big chunk of change. A Gotland class AIP SSK runs about USD $365m. The German 212, about USD $500m. (prices from this article)

The only reason the US Navy is so heavily invested in SSNs is because we're the kings of blue water operations. We have the need to send these things anywhere on the globe, and if you're going well away from home it's hard as hell to do it with non-nuclear subs. I'm almost surprised we haven't tried building some smaller SSKs (or buy a few Gotlands or 212s) for use in places like the Persian Gulf or even the Gulf of Mexico. While the Virginias are darn impressive, for the price of one we could get at least three, if not four to six SSKs that could prove very useful in some very tight spots.
 
2012-10-03 12:40:43 PM

akula: Also, it's important to consider that the nuke boats also come with a few other drawbacks. They have to be larger to accommodate the reactor and they also tend to be noisier than a conventional diesel-electric when running on batteries. Being smaller, the SSKs can operate in shallower water closer in to shore, require a much smaller crew complement (reducing operating costs), and generally are superior for the littoral areas.


And, if you're a country without much experience in submerged navigation, non-nuclear propulsion doesn't cause quite as much of an irrational panic should you happen to hit something.
 
2012-10-03 12:59:28 PM

dittybopper: rwfan: dittybopper:
It's not just the fiscal savings, it's also the tactical and strategic advantages. Look at nuclear power itself: It's *WAY* more expensive for naval propulsion than more conventional means, but the tactical advantages outweigh the bare accounting of which is more expensive to run. We could save a considerable amount of money by using conventionally powered submarines, but the advantages of having a very powerful and completely air independent propulsion method outweigh the added cost.


Hmmm, got any citations for that *WAY* more expensive? And by *WAY*, what do you mean? What's the factor?

Well, I don't have hard numbers, and I actually have to leave in a few minutes so I can't take the time to dig them up, but consider this: Only a handful of nations have produced nuclear submarines (the US, UK, France, Russia, and China). Only *ONE* has gone with a completely nuclear submarine force: The US. Many other nations *COULD* have nuke boats, if they wanted to, but they've been researching (cheaper) non-nuclear AIP options like fuel cells.


Good point. Of course the Russians have had plenty of accidents with their nuclear boats which must be somewhat off putting but I suppose that comes from not throwing enough money at them.
 
2012-10-03 01:16:30 PM

rwfan: Of course the Russians have had plenty of accidents with their nuclear boats which must be somewhat off putting but I suppose that comes from not throwing enough money at them.


I'm not sure the old Soviet Union put a high priority on safety; certainly not anywhere close to the US drive for it.

Moreover, they had a tendency to make a handful of a bunch of designs rather than start with one design, get it right, and make a bunch. Where the US made 37 Sturgeons and 62 Los Angeleses, the Soviets made about 48 Victors (of three revisions; while they made a bunch they dinked with the design a fair amount), 7 Alfas, 4 Sierras (again, of two variants), and they've since seemed to standardize on the Akula, of which they've done more dinking with. I am not certain that this much variation caused problems but I can't see how it would help. If you're only building 7 of one class and four of another you've pissed away a ton of money in design and testing (much as the US did by only building 3 Seawolfs... as it turns out just building more of them wouldn't have been that much more expensive than the Virginias turned out to be).
 
2012-10-03 01:36:03 PM

logistic: I vaguely remember a man creating a hydrogen fueled engine that separated water into fuel-viable components and he swore it was bought out by the Navy, anyone else remember this?


I remember that story as well.
 
2012-10-03 01:53:18 PM
OK, now can you make a car that runs on air??


You can make a plane this way to BTW, while you're at it.
 
2012-10-03 02:13:08 PM

rogue49: You can make a plane this way to BTW, while you're at it.


In fact, you can make a plane that uses air as "fuel" as long as you're willing to substitute an unshielded nuke reactor for the hot section of a jet engine. Difficulty: the aircraft and everything near it become radioactive as fark.
 
2012-10-03 02:16:37 PM

way south: So the question is if, say, a waterfront community could start making fuel from the ocean.
...Or is this one of those "turn energy into oil for later" things?

Cause the articles not too clear on that.



You would be better off just using the electricity to power something than to use the fuel you create from the electricity.
 
2012-10-03 02:18:55 PM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In fact, you can make a plane that uses air as "fuel" as long as you're willing to substitute an unshielded nuke reactor for the hot section of a jet engine. Difficulty: the aircraft and everything near it become radioactive as fark.


Would that actually work within flyable weight profiles? Because that would be awesome.
 
2012-10-03 02:20:26 PM

I alone am best: You would be better off just using the electricity to power something than to use the fuel you create from the electricity.


Call me when we've got a plug-in hybrid fighter jet....
 
2012-10-03 02:26:58 PM

akula: rwfan: Of course the Russians have had plenty of accidents with their nuclear boats which must be somewhat off putting but I suppose that comes from not throwing enough money at them.

I'm not sure the old Soviet Union put a high priority on safety; certainly not anywhere close to the US drive for it.


I suppose the former residents of Pripyat would agree with you.
 
2012-10-03 02:28:17 PM

incendi: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In fact, you can make a plane that uses air as "fuel" as long as you're willing to substitute an unshielded nuke reactor for the hot section of a jet engine. Difficulty: the aircraft and everything near it become radioactive as fark.

Would that actually work within flyable weight profiles? Because that would be awesome.


Well, yeah. But, as noted, *unshielded* nuke reactor.

The one project where they were planning on implementing it in a manned bomber, the crew would have been placed in a lead-lined shielded capsule and the ground crew were expected to work on the aircraft in radiation suits with big lead bulkheads between them and the engines. I expect the lack of volunteers to fly the thing probably kept them from going ahead.

And no idea how you were supposed to perform powerplant maintenance, aside from being like Spock in The Wrath of Khan...
 
2012-10-03 02:30:13 PM

incendi: I alone am best: You would be better off just using the electricity to power something than to use the fuel you create from the electricity.

Call me when we've got a plug-in hybrid fighter jet....


I'm sure we will one day. For right now oil is cheaper easier to obtain and takes less resources to refine.
 
2012-10-03 02:44:52 PM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: Well, yeah. But, as noted, *unshielded* nuke reactor.


Awesome! Totally impractical, but awesome.

I alone am best: I'm sure we will one day. For right now oil is cheaper easier to obtain and takes less resources to refine.


That's also pretty cool, but not as cool as a nuclear ramjet. I'm not sure how well that would translate into a useful fighter craft... light *and* tough *and* fast as fark *and* maneuverable as hell while running on battery power is a high bar to get over. I mean, maybe one day we'll get battery energy density to the point where that's possible, but that's much, much farther out than the 2035 quoted there, if it's possible at all, given that we'll also continue advances in the conventional fuel powered arena.
 
2012-10-03 03:40:47 PM

logistic: I vaguely remember a man creating a hydrogen fueled engine that separated water into fuel-viable components and he swore it was bought out by the Navy, anyone else remember this?


Is this what you were referring to?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rb_rDkwGnU
 
2012-10-03 04:16:06 PM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: incendi: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In fact, you can make a plane that uses air as "fuel" as long as you're willing to substitute an unshielded nuke reactor for the hot section of a jet engine. Difficulty: the aircraft and everything near it become radioactive as fark.

Would that actually work within flyable weight profiles? Because that would be awesome.

Well, yeah. But, as noted, *unshielded* nuke reactor.

The one project where they were planning on implementing it in a manned bomber, the crew would have been placed in a lead-lined shielded capsule and the ground crew were expected to work on the aircraft in radiation suits with big lead bulkheads between them and the engines. I expect the lack of volunteers to fly the thing probably kept them from going ahead.


Aircraft Reactor Experiment. The only benefit to the thing was being able to stay aloft indefinitely. Besides being totally absurd the thing that finally killed the idea was ICBM's and SLBM's.
 
2012-10-03 05:56:41 PM
img152.imageshack.us
 
2012-10-03 05:56:54 PM
For almost 20 years, all Navy Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates have been powered exclusively by LM2500 Marine Gas Turbine Engines. Navy uses them in everything.

They burn the same JP5 Jet Fuel that the Navy uses in helicopters and jets.

From Wikipedia:
JP-5 is a yellow kerosene-based jet fuel developed in 1952 for use in aircraft stationed aboard aircraft carriers, where the risk from fire is particularly great. JP-5 is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, containing alkanes, naphthenes, and aromatic hydrocarbons that weighs 6.8 pounds per U.S. gallon (0.81 kg/L) and has a high flash point (min. 60 °C or 140 °F).[14] It is the primary jet fuel for most navies.[citation needed] Its freezing point is −46 °C (−51 °F). It does not contain antistatic agents. Other names for JP-5 are: NCI-C54784, Fuel oil no. 5, Residual oil no. 5. JP-5's NATO code is F-44. It is also called AVCAT fuel for Aviation carrier turbine fuel.[15]

If you are familiar with the properties of DFM, or Diesel Fuel, Marine, the 140F flash point stands out. 140F is the same flash point as DFM. Even in the 1980s, when I was in the Navy, we burned JP5, instead of Diesel, in Aircraft Carrier Boilers, Emergency Diesel Generators, and the diesel engines of small boats.

My guess is that the Navy uses very little DFM anymore and probably almost exclusively uses JP-5. It simplifies the Underway Replenishment Process if everything can use the same fuel. Oiler full of JP-5 will pull up to Nuclear Aircraft Carrier and refuel it and leave. Aircraft Carrier will then give its fuel to its escorts. In a wartime scenario, the ability of the oiler to only refuel one ship with one type of fuel and then leave before it could be attacked would be invaluable.

Now if the process works, and could be made shipboard, with a small plant, at a decent rate, the Aircraft Carrier could make all the fuel for a task force and not need the Oiler at all. That is probably fantasy land though. This will probably require Refinery size chemical plants to make in any type of quantity.
 
2012-10-03 06:02:52 PM

rwfan: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: incendi: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In fact, you can make a plane that uses air as "fuel" as long as you're willing to substitute an unshielded nuke reactor for the hot section of a jet engine. Difficulty: the aircraft and everything near it become radioactive as fark.

Would that actually work within flyable weight profiles? Because that would be awesome.

Well, yeah. But, as noted, *unshielded* nuke reactor.

The one project where they were planning on implementing it in a manned bomber, the crew would have been placed in a lead-lined shielded capsule and the ground crew were expected to work on the aircraft in radiation suits with big lead bulkheads between them and the engines. I expect the lack of volunteers to fly the thing probably kept them from going ahead.

Aircraft Reactor Experiment. The only benefit to the thing was being able to stay aloft indefinitely. Besides being totally absurd the thing that finally killed the idea was ICBM's and SLBM's.


I've seen those reactors before. They are in the parking lot of EBR-1. EBR-1 was an experimental breeder reactor, located in Arco ID. It has been shut down for many years and has been a museum, open to the public, for many many years, at least 30. It is a very interesting place, if you have an interest in nuclear power

/former US Navy Nuclear Power Technician 1984-1990
 
2012-10-03 07:03:11 PM

abhorrent1: So extracting components of jet fuel from sea water = a vehicle that runs on water?

got it.


SpectroBoy: Donnchadha: They've had those for years. They're called boats.

Came here to say this.


theforvm.org
 
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