Raw seawater as only fuel claim

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by DCockey, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Anyone remember "cold fusion"? Or the claims of improving an IC engines efficiency using electrolysis?

    Can a boat use raw seawater as its only fuel? https://www.tradeonlytoday.com/dealers/can-a-boat-use-raw-seawater-as-its-only-fuel

    Condensed from the link above:

    MarineMax chairman and CEO Bill McGill is not known for making wild claims or investing serious resources into a technology that seems more at home on a spaceship than a powerboat. But MarineMax is the first licensee for Joi Scientific’s Hydrogen 2.0 production technology, which McGill believes will transform the boating industry — and possibly the world of maritime transportation.

    “Our technology will power boats, yachts and ships with direct-combustion engines, hybrid electric or fuel cells that convert the hydrogen to power,” said Traver Kennedy, CEO of Joi Scientific, which is based at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “The boat is literally running in its fuel.”

    Kennedy did not go into great detail about the actual workings of the technology but said the system will comprise modular units. “Depending on how much energy a vessel needs, we can shape the actual module or add different numbers,” he said. “Essentially, we’re taking seawater in its natural state and running it through a large object that is similar to a coffee filter. That transitions the water directly into hydrogen gas.”

    “This could be a world-changer in many ways,” McGill said. “You wouldn’t need a fuel tank on the boat with this system. Think of how that would fundamentally change boat design, both in opening up storage areas and saving on weight. Or how about never having to go to a fuel dock again — how great would that be?”

    Joi Scientific overview sheet: https://www.joiscientific.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/joi_hydrogen_overview.pdf

    Joi Scientific overview: All about Hydrogen 2.0. Low-cost, plentiful hydrogen By Joi Scientific https://www.joiscientific.com/overview/
    Unlike traditional hydrogen production processes that emit 5 kilograms of greenhouse gases for every 1 kilogram of hydrogen produced, (This appears to be a reference to methods for generating hydrogen by reformulating hydrocarbons which are used for industrial production of hydrogen.) Hydrogen 2.0 production processes can generate hydrogen without the use of chemicals or electrolysis. There’s no new greenhouse gases, no emissions, no particulates, no heavy metals, and no negative environmental impact. (Their patents appear to describe a variation of an electrolysis system.)

    Abstracts of patents assigned to Joi Scientific: Patents Assigned to JOI Scientific, Inc. - Justia Patents Search https://patents.justia.com/assignee/joi-scientific-inc
    One group of patents describe a system using pulsed DC current in a chamber to create hydrogen from seawater. Separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity is commonly called "electrolysis". Another group of patents describe a solar powered system using two-phase refrigerant with pumps, turbines and compressors.
     
  2. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    Without looking at the patents (an't had enough coffee for that yet), I would guess some kind of catalyst or reactant, probably consumable, that does the electrochemical tango with the sodium or chlorine in the seawater to kick out some hydrogen.
     
  3. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Hydrogen is not free to produce.

    Breaking the chemical bond requires energy.

    The process efficiency will be the issue.
     
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  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Without being any great shakes as a chemist, I am tipping it requires as much energy to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen, as will be gained from recombining the hydrogen with oxygen (combustion) to do the work of driving the boat.
     
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  5. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Never mind about driving boats with this "miracle" process, how about anything and everything that requires fuel ! And it isn't even April 1 !
     
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  6. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    There is nothing wrong with the concept. It is not a panacea.

    Remember the movie 'All is Lost' with Redford and his famous use of a single expletive? If he had a hydrogen producing generator onboard the liferaft, perhaps he would have limped home, but there is still a likely scaling problem, the windage from solar panels and the cost of such a liferaft aside. The H generator would reduce a headcount in the raft; totally fine for Redford.

    However, my little boat designed for near shore would extend its range with hydrogen production enough for me to foolishly dare pushing her limits at sea as well.

    But for a small Cat A sailboat; fuel production seems a good idea; albeit another way for the worst and most likely catastrophic event at sea. Not capsize, nor lightening, nor grounding or holing, but fire.

    All ideas regarding boats are full of tradeoffs.
     
  7. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    The math is easy almost ten times as much energy to split hydrogen from water as is produced by burning hydrogen.

    There are catalysts that reduce the input energy, but are highly toxic.

    Except one. But is unpatenable. In thin "coffee filter" like structures a "green" catalyst uses solar energy to combine hydrogen from water and carbon from CO2 into hydrocarbon chains. The leftover oxygen is released into the atmosphere. The hydrocarbons need to be stored underground for awhile but do make great fuels. Unfortunately the process is rather slow and requires tremendous acreage. Would never fit into any liferaft.
     
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  8. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I was thinking some new fangled, future concept, ...but 'a likely scaling problem'.
     

  9. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    The main problem is how easily hydrogen bonds to other elements. It takes a massive amount of energy to separate hydrogen from its preferred compounds. Once free it will release tremendous energy as it burns. The majority of energy available from any hydrocarbon fuil is from the hydrogen.

    Photosynthesis will eventually re-capture all the exhaust we have made. But not swiftly.
     
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