Apparently the US Naval Research Laboratory has found a cunning way to create hydrocarbon fuels from seawater http://1.usa.gov/1lTC4IP Using a catalyst the NRL have taken seawater and produced fuel to fly test planes. Described as “needs based fuel” production the process is also described as “having a net zero carbon footprint” since it takes carbon from the environment creates a fuel and deposits the CO2 back….
It’s being described as a game-changer and maybe it is …. But I’d be a bit worried if the entire planet got the hunch that this is the path towards infinite hydrocarbons for all which would sound like the familiar old nuclear panacea of the Harold Wilson era with energy “too cheap to meter”. The conversion statistics look daunting since it takes 23000 gallons of seawater to produce one gallon of fuel. The navy says “there’s a lot of it lying around” and I guess they are in a position to know about that but not everyone has quite that access to sea water. And is it really environmentally neutral? I wonder is emitted carbon dioxide in the air not a bit more “greenhousey “ than the stuff tied up in the seas? And anyway do we really want infinitely powered war machines? I did meet someone from the MoD who was responsible for making “low carbon” bombs and said so with a straight face… I am all for naval (sic) gazing … And I for one I am gazing at the implications of infinite hydrocarbons for the military…. It’s not a pretty picture Chris Nichols is Co-Director of the Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility