US Navy Produces Fuel Made of Seawater

May 29, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. boggle /ˈbɒgəl/ (v.) – to surprise or to make someone think very hard
Example: The strange results boggled the scientists.

2. halt /hɔlt/ (n.) – a stop from moving, often temporary
Example: The captain ordered a halt to check the ship’s engine.

3. urgency /ˈɜrʒən (n.) – a state of having high importance and immediate attention
Example: Scientists felt an urgency to finish their task.

4. extract /ɪkˈstrækt/ (v.) – to get or obtain something from another object
Example: Cooking oil can be extracted from various plants.

5. ample /ˈæməl/ (adj.) – having enough or more than what is needed
Example: The company provides ample supply of fuel to the province.


Read the text below.
Scientists from the U.S. Navy have finally solved the problem of turning seawater into fuel for its ships and planes.

The idea of making alternative fuel out of water has long been boggling researchers. Now, water-powered engines may come to reality through the “liquid hydrocarbon fuel.” This discovery will help the economy from saving funds spent on fuel.

Also, U.S. naval ships are expected to perform better if dependence on oil is gone. Waiting for oil tanker ships slows down and weakens a navy fleet. With the new technology, ships can produce its own fuel without needing a halt to refuel.

U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Philip Cullom [FIL-ip KOL-uh m] cited the urgency to develop innovative ways to create energy. He added that the need for cheap and unlimited amounts of fuel led to the discovery of liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

Researchers from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory produced the fuel by extracting carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater. These substances were then turned into fuel through a gas-to-liquid process using a catalytic [kat-l-IT-ik] converter.

The estimated cost of this fuel is three to six dollars per gallon. Scientists have successfully tested the fuel in a model airplane. However, the fuel is yet to be tested on actual ships and planes.

Nonetheless, Cullom considers this technology a huge milestone for the navy. He added that the biggest benefit is that this fuel can be used in the same engines that ships and aircrafts currently use. However, the Navy might take at least 10 years to produce  ample amount of liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the discovery of the liquid hydrocarbon fuel is a major milestone? Why or why not?
·         Do you think liquid hydrocarbon fuel can be used globally in the future? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think fuel made from water can be harmful for the environment? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the advantages of using alternative fuel?


May 29, 2014