Well, you could split water using sunlight, and in the presence of carbon (as an additive) get H2 and CO2. With the right catalyst, and possibly
some added energy, you can create a hydrocarbon from CO2 and H2, possibly release some O2 in the process. The question is how much extra energy is
required to produce the fuel and where does the extra carbon come from?
It would be a benefit if the energy source was renewable (like sunlight) or a waste product (like heat from the engine). Some CO2 could also come
from the engine exhaust. I'd imagine a lot of it would. On the whole, if doing this reduced the amount of fuel which had to be carried or
transported in a supply ship for a given mission time, then there would be a benefit to the Navy almost regardless of cost. I would expect the
catalyst to be expensive and it may take a lot of energy to produce both the catalyst and whatever other substances / equipment which might be needed.
Expensive often equates to high cost in energy in some other place.
In the end, it could easily be a large net negative in energy but a useful one IF it extends mission time sufficiently. The idea would be to move the
high energy cost steps onshore where energy is plentiful by comparison. In any case, burning fuel is exothermic -- it releases energy which we use to
do work. Making fuel is endothermic, meaning it requires more energy at some point in the entire process to create the fuel. There is no free
lunch, each conversion will have an energy loss.
So, not you won't get free gas in your car. In addition it's unlikely to become widely available on personal boats except maybe the really high end
mega-yachts. And I'd venture a guess that the oil companies have nothing to fear from this at all. OTOH, laptop battery makers might have an issue
as they already use expensive materials although a fuel cell might be a lot more efficient as a battery replacement.
It would be nice if these guys manage to get the process to scale up to a meaningful size. Lots of great things happen in test-tubes but don't work
so well when they get scaled up for meaningful use. Warship sized fuel generators would be pretty big, and probably pretty vulnerable as well. I
wouldn't hold my breath on this happening in 10 years. If ever.
Then again, this could be clever misinformation designed to throw a foreign power off track, spending limited resources on something which won't /
isn't likely to pan out as a net positive. We could easily throw a few researchers at it almost forever as long as there was a gain somewhere even
if it isn't fuel efficiency.
edit on 353am14America/Chicago32028kAmerica/Chicago by BayesLike because: (no reason given)
on 355am14America/Chicago20032kAmerica/Chicago by BayesLike because: (no reason given)