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(Yahoo)   You remember all those emails that claim that someone once figured out how to power a car on nothing but water? Pure nonsense of course. Now, figuring out how to power an aircraft carrier with seawater on the other hand? Navy scientists just did that   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 57
    More: Cool, U.S. Navy, seawaters, NRL, catalytic converters, nuclear propulsion, beakers, cars  
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4906 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Apr 2014 at 3:08 PM (28 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-07 01:19:40 PM  
This article is notable for two things:
1. Using an Iowa-class battleship as its "default fuel-burning warship" image.  Nice.
2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

But if this gets rid of some UNREPs then the skimmers should be pleased, and the MMs that work on the fuel production units will have great transferable job skills to the energy industry on the civilian side.
 
2014-04-07 01:25:20 PM  
Well, as far as the energy balance thing goes, we're talking about a nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carrier.  You may well be putting in much more energy into making jet fuel from seawater than you get out, but if you've got the excess capacity to do that, why not?

It simplifies your planning in that you no longer need to rendezvous with a (vulnerable) tanker loaded with volatile Jet-A in order to keep conducting carrier operations, or at least minimize it.
 
2014-04-07 01:32:01 PM  

dittybopper: Well, as far as the energy balance thing goes, we're talking about a nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carrier.  You may well be putting in much more energy into making jet fuel from seawater than you get out, but if you've got the excess capacity to do that, why not?

It simplifies your planning in that you no longer need to rendezvous with a (vulnerable) tanker loaded with volatile Jet-A in order to keep conducting carrier operations, or at least minimize it.


FTFA it sounded like they were more interested in the technology to power currently non-nuclear warships, which would mean that there isn't any excess energy capacity.
 
2014-04-07 01:35:39 PM  

dittybopper: Well, as far as the energy balance thing goes, we're talking about a nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carrier.  You may well be putting in much more energy into making jet fuel from seawater than you get out, but if you've got the excess capacity to do that, why not?

It simplifies your planning in that you no longer need to rendezvous with a (vulnerable) tanker loaded with volatile Jet-A in order to keep conducting carrier operations, or at least minimize it.


You still need to fuel your frigates and destroyers as well which will still require underway replenishment. A carrier battle group goes through literally tons of diesel and kerosene per day... not to mention food and ammunition. AORs are not going away any time soon.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-04-07 01:49:10 PM  
It's a poorly written article.  I'm guessing that we are talking about nuclear aircraft carriers producing jet fuel and not something that allows ships to power themselves from seawater.  The guy who wrote it seems to think that ships can power themselves with seawater.
 
2014-04-07 02:06:10 PM  

vpb: It's a poorly written article.  I'm guessing that we are talking about nuclear aircraft carriers producing jet fuel and not something that allows ships to power themselves from seawater.  The guy who wrote it seems to think that ships can power themselves with seawater.


FTA:  A crucial benefit, says Collum, is that the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.

I disagree; this article is pointing toward the capability on vessels to produce DFM and JP5.
 
2014-04-07 02:18:21 PM  

factoryconnection: 2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.


I'm frankly puzzled as to how electrolysis would in any way constitute a "game-changing technology".  They must have come up with something else.

Also, there's this:

Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.


imgs.xkcd.com
 
2014-04-07 02:24:29 PM  

Z-clipped: Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.


Yeah it seems like the process has been proven possible in a lab, but not yet feasible beyond that.  After feasible comes scalable, durable, reliable, and then combat-ready.  A cool idea and definitely one worth pursuing.
 
2014-04-07 03:15:04 PM  
"Seawater-fueled battleships" will be awesome for carrying fighter jets like the S-3 Viking.
 
2014-04-07 03:18:15 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: dittybopper: Well, as far as the energy balance thing goes, we're talking about a nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carrier.  You may well be putting in much more energy into making jet fuel from seawater than you get out, but if you've got the excess capacity to do that, why not?

It simplifies your planning in that you no longer need to rendezvous with a (vulnerable) tanker loaded with volatile Jet-A in order to keep conducting carrier operations, or at least minimize it.

You still need to fuel your frigates and destroyers as well which will still require underway replenishment. A carrier battle group goes through literally tons of diesel and kerosene per day... not to mention food and ammunition. AORs are not going away any time soon.


No, they're not.

But if instead of relying on 5 ships to replenish you only have to rely on 4 (or even 3), then you are ahead of the game both in terms of cost, and in terms of vulnerability.
 
2014-04-07 03:20:11 PM  
blog.chron.com


/unimpressed
 
2014-04-07 03:22:27 PM  
Hydrogen from seawater?  Electrolysis using the abundant output from a nuclear reactor.

CO2 from seawater?  Extracting the dissolved gas from the water, which there's a lot of due to rising atmosphere CO2 levels.

Making liquid hydrocarbons from H2 and CO2? Similar to but not exactly Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

None of the individual pieces is all that new, but putting them together like this on a ship is kinda neat.  Science!  Incremental progress by looking at old things in new and exciting ways.

(I've been on Fark so long that it's actually difficult for me to write something without it sounding sarcastic.)

Tr0mBoNe: You still need to fuel your frigates and destroyers as well which will still require underway replenishment. A carrier battle group goes through literally tons of diesel and kerosene per day... not to mention food and ammunition. AORs are not going away any time soon.


Sounds like the idea is you can replenish your AORs without sending them back to port to fill up again.  It's a Yahoo news article, so who knows what the story really is.
 
2014-04-07 03:22:35 PM  

Z-clipped: factoryconnection: 2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

I'm frankly puzzled as to how electrolysis would in any way constitute a "game-changing technology".  They must have come up with something else.

Also, there's this:

Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.


[imgs.xkcd.com image 507x431]


The game changing technology is using electrolysis and sea-water to directly fuel a jet or boat without any changes to the engine.
As far as the energy thing, yeah I'm also betting energy will come from the nuclear carrier. "Maybe" if they can get this technology small enough to produce fuel on each boat, getting electricity from the carrier to the smaller boats would be easier than getting fuel to/from them. At worse case you could beam it via a very direct line of sight. If you can get some sort of wires between the ships you certainly have a common ground in the water. Sounds dangerous, but certainly more viable than beaming physical fuel.
 
2014-04-07 03:27:05 PM  
Really?

d1mxyp5ceukbya.cloudfront.net
 
2014-04-07 03:27:09 PM  
Bullshiat.
 
2014-04-07 03:28:48 PM  

vpb: It's a poorly written article.  I'm guessing that we are talking about nuclear aircraft carriers producing jet fuel and not something that allows ships to power themselves from seawater.  The guy who wrote it seems to think that ships can power themselves with seawater.


So they'll add a fuel-generating module, which will contain a nuclear reactor to power the fuel synthesizer.

/put all the uranium and thorium from the seawater in a pile over there, please
 
2014-04-07 03:38:58 PM  
Yeah, it would be interesting to see how they end up generating the power on the smaller ships to run this process. Maybe not be able to eliminate the need for the tankers completely, but perhaps install a nuke plant on the tanker and use it to power the fuel converters so that it could constantly be producing fuel and itself not need to refuel as often, allowing the group to stay on station a lot longer.

Would be very useful for the carrier to be able to produce its own jet fuel for its aircraft though assuming it could make it fast enough...
 
2014-04-07 03:40:00 PM  
I've known about catalytic generation of hydrocarbons for a few years. All you need is loads of cheap electricity.

Soooo... All those inconveniently located sources, like remote deserts, or intermittent ones like wind. They're candidates. A few hundred square miles of solar panels in the desert could make Saudi Arabia the Saudi Arabia of synthetic oil.
 
2014-04-07 03:45:16 PM  
US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

This was already figured out by the Germans around 1890; they extracted hydrogen gas for their Zeppelins (not lead).
 
2014-04-07 03:51:20 PM  
 You don't need an entire nuke plant for this process.  They probably have some novel, highly-efficient electrolysis approach, like this one.  They are equally unlikely to be using Fischer-Topsch or other mundane gas-to-liquids processes.  Assuming all they want out is diesel and JP8, the cracking step can be optimized as well.
 
2014-04-07 03:54:32 PM  

WelldeadLink: vpb: It's a poorly written article.  I'm guessing that we are talking about nuclear aircraft carriers producing jet fuel and not something that allows ships to power themselves from seawater.  The guy who wrote it seems to think that ships can power themselves with seawater.

So they'll add a fuel-generating module, which will contain a nuclear reactor to power the fuel synthesizer.

/put all the uranium and thorium from the seawater in a pile over there, please


the ocean is big and gets a lot of sunlight too I could see towed solar arrays becoming "a thing" for naval vessels, to say nothing of the fun you could have with dielectrics given how cold the lower parts of the ocean are
 
2014-04-07 04:17:01 PM  
Running a vehicle powered by seawater? Sounds like BP's cleanup wasn't as thorough as they'd like us to think it was.
 
2014-04-07 04:19:03 PM  
We've just about exhausted the oil reserves on this planet, lets start burning the oceans too! And we get to dump all that CO2 they've absorbed right back into the atmosphere where it belongs! Brilliant!

/The above is said mostly in jest. Mostly.
 
F42
2014-04-07 04:31:21 PM  
So it's possible to take seawater, add energy, and get hydrocarbon fuel from it.

Fantastic, where does the energy come from?
 
2014-04-07 04:36:34 PM  
US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

Prove it.

Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

Prove it.
 
2014-04-07 04:40:24 PM  

vudukungfu: US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

Prove it.

Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

Prove it.


You really showed them. They're so embarrassed now.
 
2014-04-07 04:45:46 PM  
only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

Wait, so we already have unlimited and long lasting fuel for SOME of the boats... and the solution isn't to just expand that unlimited and long lasting fuel to all boats? Why jump through all the hoops if it's already a solved problem?
 
2014-04-07 04:45:49 PM  

dittybopper: But if instead of relying on 5 ships to replenish you only have to rely on 4 (or even 3), then you are ahead of the game both in terms of cost, and in terms of vulnerability.


I was thinking along those lines.

I suppose that it might be possible, given some initial expenditure of energy, for a ship to be self-sustaining.  IANAResearchChemist, nor a naval engineer, so I can't speak intelligently about the practical applications, but there's nothing theoretically prohibitive about it that I can see.  But, I could see the following scenarios:

1)  Use of the tech to extend at-sea, on-mission times for ships.
2)  Development of specialized refueling craft.  These could be nuke ships, with excess generation capacity for cracking water, that can both pipe in conventional fuel and generate new fuel underway.  This would not alleviate the hazards of transferring fuel at sea, but it would make it cheaper in the long run.
3)  Really being able to generate fuel for day-to-day ops while underway, making supplements from tankers needed only for fuel-intensive operations.
 
2014-04-07 04:49:15 PM  

factoryconnection: This article is notable for two things:
1. Using an Iowa-class battleship as its "default fuel-burning warship" image.  Nice.
2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

But if this gets rid of some UNREPs then the skimmers should be pleased, and the MMs that work on the fuel production units will have great transferable job skills to the energy industry on the civilian side.


from the article:
"The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion."

only some submarines in the US Fleet??

"skimmers" is kind of a douche thing to say....sounds kind of like a motorcycle guy saying "cagers" or a TF'er saying "liters"
 
2014-04-07 04:50:58 PM  
 
2014-04-07 05:11:30 PM  
Our Exxon buddies will be very disappointed to hear that.........the necessary phone calls must be made.
 
2014-04-07 05:12:22 PM  
Any way we can have the Warships use each other for fuel until only one is left??
 
2014-04-07 05:23:14 PM  

That Guy Jeff: only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.

Wait, so we already have unlimited and long lasting fuel for SOME of the boats... and the solution isn't to just expand that unlimited and long lasting fuel to all boats? Why jump through all the hoops if it's already a solved problem?


The US Navy did have some nuclear powered cruisers from the 1960s to the 1990s and the Navy came to the conclusion that the costs of nuclear power were more than the costs of conventional oil power.  Initial construction costs are greater, extra manpower costs during the life of the ship, extra costs to refuel the ship during a mid-life overhaul, and then disposal costs at the end of the life of the ship.

Aircraft carriers and submarines have mission requirements where nuclear power is a better choice even if costs are higher.  Submarines benefit from unlimited underwater endurance, aircraft carriers benefit from not needing a farking HUGE amount of fuel that would be required to power them.

The Navy plans things in excess of 30+ years for the future of ships so the short answer is that the Navy has to have almost certainty that oil will be obscenely expensive or otherwise unavailable before the cost/benefit curve would switch to where they start building nuclear powered cruisers and destroyers.  That, and Congress isn't giving the Pentagon unlimited budget money in the near future.  A naval nuclear reactor is something like $1.5 billion, minimum, so take the average Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and add $1.5 billion to the initial purchase price to get an idea of the costs involved.
 
2014-04-07 05:24:50 PM  

factoryconnection: This article is notable for two things:
1. Using an Iowa-class battleship as its "default fuel-burning warship" image.  Nice.
2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

But if this gets rid of some UNREPs then the skimmers should be pleased, and the MMs that work on the fuel production units will have great transferable job skills to the energy industry on the civilian side.


most likely they will have a fueling tanker that is equiped with a nuclear reactor and the gear.  That ship will be able to be mobile and limitless in supply of fuel.  Only needing food and replacement parts for the crew.  Amazing.  Plus, though it's not 100% on efficiency this same tech combined with solar will be able to create fuel depots/desal plants that are nearly carbon neutral!  It's amazing technology!
 
2014-04-07 05:30:56 PM  
Deuterium?

/checks article
//leaves disappointed
 
2014-04-07 05:31:46 PM  

bromah: factoryconnection: This article is notable for two things:
1. Using an Iowa-class battleship as its "default fuel-burning warship" image.  Nice.
2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

But if this gets rid of some UNREPs then the skimmers should be pleased, and the MMs that work on the fuel production units will have great transferable job skills to the energy industry on the civilian side.

most likely they will have a fueling tanker that is equiped with a nuclear reactor and the gear.  That ship will be able to be mobile and limitless in supply of fuel.  Only needing food and replacement parts for the crew.  Amazing.  Plus, though it's not 100% on efficiency this same tech combined with solar will be able to create fuel depots/desal plants that are nearly carbon neutral!  It's amazing technology!




Indeed.
There are a lot of places in the sunbelt or near hydro power sources that generate excess energy. The problem is getting it to the right market.
Where people might only pay pennies per kilowatt, they'd paying upwards of four dollars a gallon (and have to import it from all over the world).
They could maybe pay similar costs and import it from the state next door. That's a winning situation for the local economies.
 
2014-04-07 05:36:29 PM  
I'd be happy if they could just figure out how to curb the rampant theft from one's own shipmates without any consequences whatsoever on large ships.

The smaller ship I was on, a DDG, never had that issue.
 
2014-04-07 06:02:09 PM  

ThatBillmanGuy: I'd be happy if they could just figure out how to curb the rampant theft from one's own shipmates without any consequences whatsoever on large ships.

The smaller ship I was on, a DDG, never had that issue.


maybe that gets to be more self policing on a smaller ship, for sure it also tends to garner higher level attention a lot quicker.
quickest way to ostracize yourself
 
2014-04-07 06:06:43 PM  
New process allows ships to make fuel from seawater*!

* requires energy, not included

I would've been willing to write it off as the usual weak-on-science reporting, except that this last line:

...before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board

...takes it straight into free-energy BS-land. Unless maybe they're also planning to digest plankton for fuel.
 
2014-04-07 06:07:24 PM  

Magorn: the ocean is big and gets a lot of sunlight too I could see towed solar arrays becoming "a thing" for naval vessels, to say nothing of the fun you could have with dielectrics given how cold the lower parts of the ocean are


"Sir, we haven't found the enemy ships yet, but start the fleet this way. We've found fifteen square miles of solar panels so far, so they're nearby and moving northwest. Hell, just target our coordinates and start deenergizing the enemy."
 
2014-04-07 06:08:52 PM  

jaytkay: vudukungfu: US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

Prove it.

Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

Prove it.

You really showed them. They're so embarrassed now.


Or motivated.
 
2014-04-07 06:16:35 PM  

vudukungfu: US experts have found out how to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater.

Prove it.

Then, using a catalytic converter, they transformed them into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

Prove it.


I know some guys playing with turning CO2 into methanol, using light of all things.

http://www.uta.edu/news/releases/2013 /02/carbondioxide-methanol.php

We may never get better batteries, but we might close the carbon cycle to include our transport. And I know Toshiba can make a methanol fuel cell, imagine a liquid fueled electric car in the 70 mpg range.
 
2014-04-07 07:00:39 PM  

dittybopper: Well, as far as the energy balance thing goes, we're talking about a nuclear reactor-powered aircraft carrier.  You may well be putting in much more energy into making jet fuel from seawater than you get out, but if you've got the excess capacity to do that, why not?

It simplifies your planning in that you no longer need to rendezvous with a (vulnerable) tanker loaded with volatile Jet-A in order to keep conducting carrier operations, or at least minimize it.


Navy doesn't use Jet A, they use JP-5.   JP-5 is very similar to Diesel in burn characteristics and flash point.  In fact, they use it to power some diesel engines.
 
2014-04-07 08:51:46 PM  
as much as i'd like to see this in a mil application, you'd think the civilian uses of powering equipment by using bullshiat would be enourmous, hell the entire eastern seaboard could be powered by D.C. Alone, Austin could take care of the centrally located states and Sacremento & portland could power everything from Cabo to Juneau  

bad humor aside, if this isn't more bs it could be interesting how it works in the long term
 
2014-04-07 09:33:00 PM  
Theoretically you could create a new class of tanker with a nuclear reactor on board to generate fuel for use within a battle group.
 
2014-04-07 09:41:03 PM  

ncsu_wolfpack: Theoretically you could create a new class of tanker with a nuclear reactor on board to generate fuel for use within a battle group.


My older brother, who's an ex-Navy nuclear sub reactor tech, thinks this is exactly what the Navy will do. These new 'fleet tankers' will simply steam along generating JP-5 from the excess power of their reactor. Never have to find a friendly port to buy fuel in. Now, when they can 3D print food for the troops from sea water they'll be in fat city!
 
2014-04-07 09:57:54 PM  

factoryconnection: This article is notable for two things:
1. Using an Iowa-class battleship as its "default fuel-burning warship" image.  Nice.
2. No mention of the energy balance of making up all the electricity to run the electrolysis and CO2 extraction machines.

But if this gets rid of some UNREPs then the skimmers should be pleased, and the MMs that work on the fuel production units will have great transferable job skills to the energy industry on the civilian side.


My first thought was, it must be tough to land aircraft on those 18 inch gun turrets.
 
2014-04-07 11:57:29 PM  

Jgok: Deuterium?

/checks article
//leaves disappointed


So very, very disappointed.
 
2014-04-08 12:43:20 AM  
Uh... why is this supposed new technology restricted to naval warships? Why not build a nuke plant right off the beach and open a gas station on the dock? I smell bullshiat.
 
2014-04-08 01:27:33 AM  

PreMortem: Uh... why is this supposed new technology restricted to naval warships? Why not build a nuke plant right off the beach and open a gas station on the dock? I smell bullshiat.


Because it would be incredibly expensive to make the fuel. It would be more efficient to use the electrical energy to charge EVs. This is strictly about not letting battle groups be vulnerable. Or reduce the supply chain logistics.
 
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