Biodiesel

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Postby piqaboo » Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:46 pm

analog wrote:If I remember correctly what I read somewhere, probably one of Isaac Asimov's essays, Haber's synthetic ammonia was a solution to the 19th century logistical problem of shipping guano all the way from South America to Europe by square rigger.

1800's Europe was able, because of a small guano-based fertilizer industry, to populate itself beyond what its farmers could otherwise have supported during that century.

The trend continues today worldwide and at breakneck speed.

Now we've got the human food chain based on carbon energy, as Haggis has astutely demonstrated.
More than half of the world's supply of usable nitrogen is now man-made.



Is this the wet blanket?

Wet blankets are fun! They are what we use to smother fires :wink:.
Hang around, sog some more!
That's what is missing from the environmental rhetoric, consideration of what will happen to food supply if we do shut off combustion based energy.

The protesters are just clueless.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:01 pm

More than half of the world's supply of usable nitrogen is now man-made.


I'm being nit-picky here, but I didn't think we could make nitrogen, except in nuclear reactors, whose contribution to the level of Nitrogen in the world is insignificant. Chemically, we can only extract nitrogen from the naturally-occuring compounds in which it is found, and combine it with other elements to form new compounds, the same as we do with atmospheric Carbon.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Postby analog » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:02 pm

Pigaboo wrote:
Wet blankets are fun! They are what we use to smother fires Wink.
Hang around, sog some more!


Thanks Ms Boo! I appreciate your kindness.


I had posted a useless comment about growing palms in the everglades, to effect probably it's not quite tropical enough. But you knew that anyhow having lived nearby. Sometimes I seem to post just to hear my own voice and invariably am embarassed later. End of "poor me" rant.


Hmm - world nitrate supply... Haber's process fixed that for the time being. That same Asimov essay pointed out the other vital ingredient in fertilizer is phosphorous and the world's most significant phosphate deposits are in, you guessed it, the mideast.... Syria and Iran both have lively phosphate industries, and uranium runs with phosphate. When I worked for the electric company our reactor fuel was derived from the phosphate mines of NW Florida.

So!!!! after the oil wars play out we can have a whole new round of squabbles over fertilizer feedstock... maybe fission fuel too...

I think the name of that Asimov essay was "Life's Bottleneck" and it was in a book titled "Fact and Fancy" published 1960-ish. I know I read it in tenth grade, winter of 1961-62.

Do you think it just a coincidence that Mother Nature chose to particularly endow the mideast with both the oil and phosphates so essential to the ascent of man? :?:
Cogito ergo doleo.
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Postby Haggis@wk » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:32 pm

Shapley wrote:
More than half of the world's supply of usable nitrogen is now man-made.


I'm being nit-picky here, but I didn't think we could make nitrogen, except in nuclear reactors, whose contribution to the level of Nitrogen in the world is insignificant. Chemically, we can only extract nitrogen from the naturally-occuring compounds in which it is found, and combine it with other elements to form new compounds, the same as we do with atmospheric Carbon.



Okay, not "making" but "fixing" nitrogen

Sheesh, you are "nit-picky" :roll:
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Postby treebeau » Fri Apr 13, 2007 9:49 am

Palms in the Everglades? No way...the Malaleukas take up all the space and are too aggressive. :D

Regards,
Tim B.
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Postby jamiebk » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:05 am

analog wrote:Pigaboo wrote:
Do you think it just a coincidence that Mother Nature chose to particularly endow the mideast with both the oil and phosphates so essential to the ascent of man? :?:


It is afterall, the birthplace of mankind (Tigress and Euphrates river basin). That is no coincidence.
Jamie

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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:46 am

Shapley wrote:
More than half of the world's supply of usable nitrogen is now man-made.


I'm being nit-picky here, but I didn't think we could make nitrogen...

Sheesh indeed.

Let us carefully parse that: the subject in that sentence is "supply". While it is correct that the element nitrogen is usually not man-made, the supply of usable nitrogen is now apparently manufactured.

I miss Shos and his Grammarian Grenadiers. He used to apply insecticide to these nits... :( :wink:
>^..^<
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