someone's got to say it
surely they're taking the piss?
alright I'll get me coat and be on my way.
Over the centuries, urine has been collected for all manner of unpleasant industrial applications. Now, a new research paper suggests pee could be a big contributor to the future of carbon fuel-cell technology. According to this paper in Nature, doped collections of carbon atoms recovered from human urine have the right kind …
Though it's an old idea: It costs me about £2000 per year to heat the house to reasonable temperature, about 7months a year -- but alternatively I can stay warm those days for about £1500 in cheap vodka.
It's not complete fossil fuel independence, as I need a truck from Poland to my house once a year, but it goes a long way.
Platinum group metals are rarely mined specifically for the platinum group metals. They are recovered as part of "tailings processing" for a more mundane - but far more profitable - metal. You don't mine for platinum. You mine for copper, and post-process the wastes to get your few extra bucks of profit per tonne by pulling out platinum group metals, gold and a few other odds and ends.
In fact, until we discovered a use for them, platinum group metals were often discarded when they were dug up from gold mines. A great example of this is the Barkerville gold rush in BC, Canada. Some slaves would collect platinum group nuggets because they were pretty, but often left them behind. Years later, when the old camps were reexamined, containers full of platinum were found, left behind as they weren't worth anything, even to the slaves...tens of millions at today's prices.
It's an old (urban legend?) that BT found it got consistently better microphones out of the charcoal supplied by one specific charcoal burner in Cornwall. They spent a lot of time analysing the type of wood, how he burned it, how it was granulated to try to work out why his charcoal was better than any other. They could find no difference in the materials or process and the guy was particularly unhelpful. In the end they sent someone to spy on him to see what he was doing. It turned out he held a grudge against BT and would routinely pee on the charcoal sacks before they were sent off to the company.
Many a true word is said in jest...
I seem to remember that it was excrement that was used to produce saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate). Dung (human and animal) mixed with ash was spread on a field, and wet blankets spread on the earth and left a few months. The blankets were then washed and the wash liquid evaporated. The crystals left were nitre/saltpeter which was then blended with sulphur and charcoal to make gunpowder.
A big advantage was that the fields were then nicely fertilised for the next crop.
In later times, nasty people would buy Potassium Nitrate directly from a gardening shop to make "fertiliser" bombs.
Urine from farm animals presumably contains the same chemicals. There is an increasing use of industrial scale indoor herds. Presumably the slurry could have the liquids filtered off - still leaving the residue for bio-energy generation.
The TV series "The Worst Jobs in History" included the Government's regular mining of the earth floors in people's huts. This urine soaked material was refined to extract the potassium nitrate for gunpowder.
"Urine from farm animals ..." My first job after leaving school in 1950 was as a technician in a pharmaceutical company development research lab.After settling i, I was given the task of synthesising a number of androgens. Considerable literature research was necessary to find suitable methods. I was amazed at the fact that in those days a major source of steroids and hormones entering aademic and industrial laboratories for investigation was pregnant mares' urine.
Bob Shaw, SF author of fond memory, once gave a talk on the spaceship "Yurinate" - named for the first man in space, of course ;-)
The propulsion system was based on his observation that for every pint of beer consumed, 1.1 pints of urine was excreted.
So the ship reaction mass was provided by a three element system: a brewery, a bar, and a (large) lavatory. Water was recycled from the last to the first, and the 10% profit sent to the engines to be turned to steam shot out the back.
So when the captain called for maximum power this required the crew to drink as much as they could handle, and led to the inevitable cry of "Cap'n, the bladders cannae take it--"
Can I smoke ANY old dope, or does it have to be a specific breed?
"Well, Mr. Johnson, the bad news is that you failed the drug test, so you can't make you an offer for that management position. The good news is that it means that we CAN offer you a position in our battery-manufacturing division!"
Curious how researchers chose Carbon from urine when the much maligned coal, peat and lignite has many of the same elements readily available. It's been about 20 years since there was talk of Carbon "chips" replacing Silicon "chips" because Carbon electron movements were 20X faster. Wondered what happened to the research, guess now I know. Ah, Rube Goldberg, what a genius.
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