For centuries, alchemists have tried to turn lead into gold. That transmutation has long been proven impossible, but another similar dream – turning water into fuel – seems to be achievable. Scientists at a U.S. Naval Laboratory proved it by flying a model airplane burning re-engineered seawater.
Natural gas and liquid fuels, burned in all kinds of internal combustion engines, are chemical compounds of hydrogen and carbon, coming mostly from underground reserves.
Oceans also are huge reservoirs of hydrogen, though, and – increasingly – carbon dioxide, or CO2. Dissolved in seawater from the air, it makes the water more acidic.
Extracting those chemicals from the ocean and converting them into a form of liquid fuel was made possible by some recent technological advances, according to U.S. Navy researcher, Dr. Heather Willauer.
“We’ve been actually able to show that we can recombine CO2 and hydrogen in the laboratory on a lab-scale, laboratory scale, into a liquid-type fuel,” she said.
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