Feeds

US Navy aims to make jetfuel from seawater uranium

Vampire-lust tales will rot your brain

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

People would have known all this in the old days, because they read proper science fiction

In theory one might make synthi-fuel using renewable power, but that's not really on. Most analysis suggests that even the most extreme renewables plans would struggle to deliver as much energy as civilisation uses now. If the energy requirements of the transport sector increased by many times over - as it would if future transport ran on synthi-fuels made with CO2 - there'd be no hope of success at all.

A renewables-powered future might be possible, but it wouldn't have hydrocarbon synthifuel in it. Synthetic energy-rich fuel only makes any sense in a society which is largely nuclear powered, by fission or fusion.

It makes quite a lot of sense then, however: conceivably more sense than using hydrogen, the other widely-touted energy storage method in that scenario. Sure, hydrogen takes less energy to make, but it's much harder to handle and store with any safety - and its low density makes it difficult to use in many applications like aircraft. Hydrogen-fuelled planes would be mostly fuel tanks. Even hydrogen cars normally need to burn the stuff in fuel cells rather than combustion engines to get useful performance.

People in the old days knew all this. H Beam Piper - a man with high-school education who'd have been just as happy writing detective stories for better money - assumed in his sci-fi tales that the spacegoing Earthmen of the future would make "thermoconcentrate" (eg, "energy-rich" as Dorner puts it) synthi-fuels for use in vehicles not big enough to have onboard nuclear power, as other planets probably couldn't be relied upon to have handy underground reservoirs full of almost ready-made jet juice.

Sci-fi fans used to read writers like Piper: now they mainly read about vampire lust, seemingly.

And nowadays - I'm suggesting these things are linked - when a potential step forward in synthetic fuels is announced, it gets reported under the headline "jet fuel from water". When what you're actually talking about - in practical terms - is making jet fuel using uranium. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.