Ask Jay Leno

Jay Leno on turning sea water to fuel

Is sea water the fuel of the future?

Roughly 71 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, with the oceans holding the majority of it. So it would be incredibly useful if scientists could somehow convert all that sea water into fuel.

As it turns out, they can. Sort of.

In 2014, U.S. Navy scientists were able to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas straight from the ocean's water. Then, with the help of catalytic converters, they turned those gases into fuel, and were able to successfully fly a model airplane.

So what's the "sort of" here? Well, by using the current process, it takes more energy to extract the fuel than you actually get out of it. So, while it's a fairly clean net-energy loss, it's still a loss.

Could sea water be the fuel of the future? Here, Jay Leno discusses the possibility, and elaborates on the excitement and uncertainty behind the innovation.

Each week, Jay Leno shares his thoughts about hot topics in the auto industry. Tune in to "Jay Leno's Garage" Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.