Fuel

Navy aims to turn seawater into jet fuel

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 1, 2012   View Article

The U.S. Navy may need to look no further than the water around its ships to produce jet fuel, according to a program underway at its research laboratory.

The technology would free the Navy from the logistical and economic challenges of refueling ships underway.

A tiny, golden way to curb carbon emissions

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: April 13, 2012   View Article

Once – or if – we decide to seriously fight climate change, there will be riches to be found in technologies that turn the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into something useful, such as fuel. One such method may truly be golden, according to new research.

The story starts with another metal – copper, the stuff of pennies. It is well known as one of the few metals that can turn carbon dioxide into fuels such as methane and methanol.

Blowing bubbles to make ships more fuel efficient

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: January 19, 2012   View Article

Blowing a lot of bubbles under cargo ships turns out to be a good way to cut down on fuel costs, according to ongoing research on so-called air lubrication technology.

“The basic idea is that if you could somehow have air close to the hull, it would help the hull slip through the water better by reducing the skin friction,” Steven Ceccio, a professor of naval architecture and mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, explained to me Wednesday.

Can urine whiz rockets to Mars

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: October 4, 2011   View Article

The idea of using urine to whiz rockets to the moon and beyond is once again leaking into the realm of possibility.

That’s because scientists have begun to crack the code of how bacteria that live without the aid of oxygen convert ammonium — a key chemical in urine — into hydrazine, which is a type of rocket fuel.

Disk drive tech may aid farming

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: July 26, 2011   View Article

Plowshares coated with the same diamond-like carbon material used to protect computer hard disks could allow farmers to save on fuel costs and improve the quality of their soils, according to German researchers.

The slippery material “reduces the friction between soil and the plow,” Martin Hoerner, a physicist at the Fraunhofer Institute of the Mechanics of Materials in Freiberg who is working on the project, told me Tuesday via email.

Fill’er up – with hydrogen?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 2, 2011   View Article

Scientists have found and tested an abundant and inexpensive catalyst needed to make hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, a necessary step on the road to the elusive clean, green hydrogen economy.

The new catalyst — molybdenum sulfide— is an alternative to platinum, an expensive and rare catalyst used to convert single ions of hydrogen split off from water into hydrogen gas.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach