(DECCAN CHRONICLE) — The U.S. Navy believes it has finally worked out the solution to a problem that has intrigued scientists for decades — how to take seawater and use it as fuel. The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as “a game-changer” because it would signficantly shorten the supply chain, a weak link that makes any force easier to attack.

The U.S. has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion. All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.

The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost. Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared, “It’s a huge milestone for us.”

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