The U.S. Navy recently announced that it has successfully flown a plane powered by fuel made from seawater in a process that extracts carbon dioxide and hydrogen from the water and then converts it into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.
The Navy calls the advancement a ‘game changer’ and plans to run their entire fleet of ships, planes and engines on liquid hydrocarbon fuel within 10 years. It would eliminate the logistics of keeping supply lines and fuel tankers, making each Navy vessel energy self-sufficient.
Vice Navy Admiral Philip Cullom told AFP that “the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.”
“If you don’t want to re-engineer every ship, every type of engine, every aircraft, that’s why we need what we call drop-in replacement fuels that look, smell and essentially are the same as any kind of petroleum-based fuels,” Cullom said.
The cost of creating jet fuel using this technology is estimated to be between $3 to $6 per gallon, on par with retail costs, but significantly lower than maintaining current refueling logistics as the fuel would be created on each ship.
This technology is indeed a major breakthrough, but it seems odd to be earmarked for war-making purposes instead of civil operations, especially since the U.S. military and State Department are almost exclusively operating in regions of strategic oil and gas importance: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela — to name a few.
Perhaps these wars are about something other than natural resources, like control of central banks and military-industrial profits.
But wouldn’t it be a more humane and pragmatic policy to shift a huge portion of the military’s budget to a civilian program to retrofit the entire country to use this unlimited clean fuel source instead of using it for more resource wars?