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Old 17th July 2011, 09:28   #106
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Fossil fuels are called such because general consensus has been that these were formed from metamorphosis of dead planktons over millennia.

However years ago a Russian scientist gave a theory that petroleum and natural gas were actually formed by reaction of carbonates with water deep under the earth (under the tremendous pressure and heat).

There has been evidence in support of the first theory - plankton fossils are found with oil, and coal is almost always fossilised trees.

However some people are thinking whether the second could be correct too - the point is if it really is true then petroleum may be available in more quantities than thought. This is far fetched but if anyone is interested worth a read.
Yes, I have read articles on such a theory. One indirect evidence is that oil well reserve estimates in many wells continues to grow over the years contrary to the initial estimates of the well lifetime. This does not happen in every well, thats why they have EOR methods. However popular belief that all oil wells will dry up in the next 30 years has not really come to pass. In 40s they said oils wells will dry up by 60s. By 60s it was 80s. By 90s it was 10s. And so on. I know, new mega discoveries are hard to come across, but this situation has been around for generations.

Since we now have the technology to lift shale gas which can supply world's energy for the next 200+ years, I dont think combustion based energy market will change by too much. As I have said before, I feel that some geographies may have certain favorite alternate energy sources, but the majority of the pie will still belong to hydrocarbons.

Edit: Hmm, maybe it does makes sense to have a better conversion technology of hydrocarbon energy to usable energy. Thermal power is what, 30% efficient? IC and gas generators efficiency is also in the same range, if I remember my thermodynamics. What is the efficiency of a fuel cell? It cannot be radically different.

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Old 17th July 2011, 14:25   #107
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...

Edit: Hmm, maybe it does makes sense to have a better conversion technology of hydrocarbon energy to usable energy. Thermal power is what, 30% efficient? IC and gas generators efficiency is also in the same range, if I remember my thermodynamics. What is the efficiency of a fuel cell? It cannot be radically different.
theoretically most thermal power these days can extract roughly 30-50% (depends entirely on the peak temperatures attained) and multi stage turbines do approach very close the these limits.

Fuel cells can, in theory, get as much as 85% - but the actual efficiencies are far lower - it is a very new technology compared to combustion based methods
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Old 17th July 2011, 15:36   #108
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

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Yes, I have read articles on such a theory. One indirect evidence is that oil well reserve estimates in many wells continues to grow over the years contrary to the initial estimates of the well lifetime. efficiency is also in the same range, if I remember my thermodynamics. What is the efficiency of a fuel cell? It cannot be radically different.
[1] What is the percentage of wells which are NOT exhibiting signs of depletion of reserves? Is there any data which can be extrapolated to arrive at a reserve scenario accounting for such wells? If that be the case then why is the IEA acknowledging Peak Oil(see link for definition) as a valid concern? See the link here and here. A lesson I have learnt in my 30 odd years of working life is - Always listen to the market, the market knows best. Going by this thumb rule and looking at the trajectory of energy prices for the past 25 years of data that I have, I am not very sanguine about the future of hydrocarbons as the fuel source of the future.

[2] In the context of shale gas there are a few interesting points. First being the stated economics. There are accusations of overstating reserves and painting a rosy picture of financials by existing players. This is as per reports of an investigation conducted by the New York Time as reported in the economics section of the article in wikipedia (see link here). I have no knowledge on the basis of which to say these accusations are credible, however when there are such controversies there is more often than not something to hide. Not very confidence inspiring is it? Secondly hydraulic fracturing of shales is water intensive. Irrespective of the protestations to the contrary by the industry this is a valid concern. Even more concerning is the possibility of water body contamination due to mismanagement of extraction process and/or natural events such as earthquakes.

[3] The reality of global warming - Like it or not, there is going to be a move towards carbon taxes. The politics and the demographics are inclined towards it. The west(OECD) does not have the consumption appetite for energy as the newly developing economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. The incremental growth rate for the BRIC region and other newly developing regions will be higher than the OECD block.So the politics is in place. If such is the case how long before hydrocarbons lose their status as a preferred energy source inspite of the factors favoring them namely ease of use in terms of infrastructure and energy density.
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Old 21st July 2011, 12:34   #109
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[
In the context of shale gas there are a few interesting points.
Some relevant and recent articles on shale gas economics discussed at US senate. I feel that the current economic scenario of shale gas is at a crucial cross-road. On the matter of fracking fluids and their effects on environment, I feel that the issue is overhyped. Yes there is an issue, but the parameters are controllable.

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
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Old 22nd July 2011, 02:15   #110
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Default Flywheel hybrids

Many BHPians are probably aware of this technology:

Energy stored (from regenerative braking for example):in a massive flywheel
Automakers Give Flywheels a Spin - Technology Review

Another technology similar to Air car is:

Chrysler Experiments with Hydraulic Hybrid Minivans - Technology Review



EDIT: some more promising advances in PV cells:

advances in efficiency in covnersion of Red and near-IR spectrum (Si PVs can not convert it presently because of Si's huge bandgap)
http://www.technologyreview.com/ener...4/?mod=chthumb


Then the costs are coming down too:
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/energy/26961/
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/energy/26946/

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Old 23rd July 2011, 15:06   #111
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

I still strongly feel that the Hydrogen On-Demand is the best alternative fuel for ICE & other thermal energy applications. Like HHO generator in the car as the fuel or the welding machine bearing name H2O. BUT like @caprico4 mentioned (refer page 2) that there are many forces which will act sheepish to safeguard their business despite the environment crisis our earth is facing, however they will proven wrong in the time to come!
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Old 23rd July 2011, 22:17   #112
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I still strongly feel that the Hydrogen On-Demand is the best alternative fuel for ICE & other thermal energy applications. Like HHO generator in the car as the fuel or the welding machine bearing name H2O. BUT like @caprico4 mentioned (refer page 2) that there are many forces which will act sheepish to safeguard their business despite the environment crisis our earth is facing, however they will proven wrong in the time to come!

I think it has been discussed on this thread in some detail before that hydrogen economy has been a perpetual "round the corner" disappointment. It has some real technical problems (generation, storage, distribution, heat capacity, safety - basically in every single aspect that is a required property of a fuel H2 is a problem) that nobody really talks about. Since they have been discussed above I wouldn't go into that.


@caprico4's comments were valid some time ago, but not any longer - oil companies are a part of our society too- so things effect them too, and reasons of greed (not moral principle) dictate that they must look out for alternative energy to safeguard their own future.

Oil companies today are some of the largest investors in green energy and while they are not exactly overenthusiastic, they do take alternative energy much more seriously than most govt.s in the world.
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Old 23rd July 2011, 22:56   #113
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

Actually @vina, I was talking about On-demand H2 or HHO production, ie, in real time, not storage & dispensing it! I am also looking into how to do it practically, atleast I want to give it a try & understand the pros n cons instead just do the theories and talking.

I was not talking about the oil major's here, but the oil minor's.. the retailers, distributors, babus, etc. Lets say if me or anybody whoever for that matter IF comes up with a successful HHO system, am sure we will be stamped to ground and under!
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Old 23rd July 2011, 23:16   #114
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

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Actually @vina, I was talking about On-demand H2 or HHO production, ie, in real time, not storage & dispensing it! I am also looking into how to do it practically, atleast I want to give it a try & understand the pros n cons instead just do the theories and talking.

I was not talking about the oil major's here, but the oil minor's.. the retailers, distributors, babus, etc. Lets say if me or anybody whoever for that matter IF comes up with a successful HHO system, am sure we will be stamped to ground and under!
Please refer to my post mentioned here (Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?) .

The water from gas scam has been going on for far too long now. Last I checked it is NOT workable - I am open to correction here. Why is it not workable? The energy for the electrolysis has to come from somewhere. What is the amount of energy expended to gain the HHO and how do you generate it? No body has proven this to be a workable option conclusively.
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Old 24th July 2011, 00:22   #115
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

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Actually @vina, I was talking about On-demand H2 or HHO production, ie, in real time, not storage & dispensing it! I am also looking into how to do it practically, atleast I want to give it a try & understand the pros n cons instead just do the theories and talking.

I was not talking about the oil major's here, but the oil minor's.. the retailers, distributors, babus, etc. Lets say if me or anybody whoever for that matter IF comes up with a successful HHO system, am sure we will be stamped to ground and under!

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Please refer to my post mentioned here (Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?) .

The water from gas scam has been going on for far too long now. Last I checked it is NOT workable - I am open to correction here. Why is it not workable? The energy for the electrolysis has to come from somewhere. What is the amount of energy expended to gain the HHO and how do you generate it? No body has proven this to be a workable option conclusively.


I'm sorry, I never knew such a contraption existed - I still can't believe it does.

What does it achieve? Thermodynamically (second law to be specific) you can not have a system where you use some energy to generate a fuel, then use the fuel to generate more energy than you spent in the first place. So unless the claim is that this system improves efficiency of petrol engines (for diesel you CRD engines achieve the same effect by pre-injection) by huge amount this is a useless technology.

The reason I can very confidently tell you that it is probably a useless technology - electrolysis of water is one of the stupidest ways of generating H2 - stability of the H2O molecule is such (and the reactivity of O- radicals generated so high - they immediately oxidise water to H2O2 which then remains in the solution and re-oxidises H+ generated at the electrode - 2*H + H2O2 -> 2*H20 + heat) that you spend 3x more energy (with theoretically perfect methods at the moment) than can ever be recovered by burning the H2 at 100% efficiency. Almost all industrial supply of H2 is generated from methane.


The only way this technology is useful is if only a miniscule amount of hydrogen is needed in the first place to somehow improve the combustion properties of petrol-air mixture - though I'm not sure that is very likely, that may be possible. BUT then H2 is not alternative fuel - petrol is still the fuel you burn.
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Old 24th July 2011, 13:16   #116
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

@vina, as you claim about the industrial production of H2 is from methane, but when I googled
Quote:
industrial hydrogen production
& in the list, I chose wikipedia.org, it says this
Quote:
Hydrogen is produced on an industrial scale by the electrolysis of water.
I am not very disheartened as it has not disapproved the theory or other examples on the net, though it doesn't say it is the best & easiest way to produce!

Also note that I am not trying to make electricity by this process, I am trying to make an alternate fuel or better put as an fuel enhancer, so it may work or at worse it may not! So the energy used to release or split water is not recovered by chemical reaction to make electricity, but from mechanical energy using it as fuel in an ICE. Anyways I have already set a positive mood to give it a try atleast! Its better to do something constructive in the free-time, than the time (and money) we spend to do useless loafing around at many times. Just trying my bit to conserve whatever we have in a better ways. As I am also into & interested in motorsports, I know the amount of dirty spill we cause on the environment. I had initially thought to make an electric bike or vehicle, but after some careful thinking & research found out that the battery units make the most of the damage on environment. So the water to water theory (atleast in theory sounds good) was a safe bet, so am working on it. Right now only on rigorous research, will find funds to materialize it to give it a try! Amen!

In the same wikipedia page, I found this too..

Quote:
From urine

Hydrogen can also be made from urine. Using urine, hydrogen production is 332% more energy efficient than using water.[12][13] The research was conducted by Geraldine Botte from the Ohio University. Recently, Dr. Shanwen Tao of the Heriot-Watt University has invented a Carbamide Power System Fuel Cell that can immediately convert urine into electricity.[14]
I am re-thinking now

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Old 24th July 2011, 14:14   #117
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

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@vina, as you claim about the industrial production of H2 is from methane, ...



Also note that I am not trying to make electricity by this process, I am trying to make an alternate fuel or better put as an fuel enhancer, so it may work or at worse it may not! So the energy used to release or split water is not recovered by chemical reaction to make electricity, but from mechanical energy using it as fuel in an ICE. Anyways I have already set a positive mood to give it a try atleast! Its better to do something constructive in the free-time, than the time (and money) we spend to do useless loafing around at many times. Just trying my bit to conserve whatever we have in a better ways. As I am also into & interested in motorsports, I know the amount of dirty spill we cause on the environment. I had initially thought to make an electric bike or vehicle, but after some careful thinking & research found out that the battery units make the most of the damage on environment. So the water to water theory (atleast in theory sounds good) was a safe bet, so am working on it. Right now only on rigorous research, will find funds to materialize it to give it a try! Amen!

In the same wikipedia page, I found this too..


I am re-thinking now

Thanks first of all for taking it in the right spirit. Regarding the qikipedia entry I guess you reached this page:

Hydrogen production - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As you can see, the very first entry is regarding Fertilisers - Urea production is by far the largest industrial Hydrogen consumer in the world - they use ammonia as feedstack which requires Hydrogen as its feedstock which then requires Natural Gas.

If you see Govt. of India policy regarding Natural gas - Fertiliser industry falls under the highest priority sector.

(BTW - Carbon black is produced as a by product and is then used by one major automotive component - can you guess which one?)



I understood what you were trying to do after going to HHO pages on the internet. The thing is producing electricity from H2 gives you a far higher efficiency (80+ %) than ICE will ever give (less than 50% under best of circumstances) - bear in mind that Hydrogen is not like petrol or diesel - unlike petroleum Hydrogen is not a source of energy - it can be a fuel, but energy to generate this fuel has to come from somewhere else.

Most of the Times-of-India kind of press (including HT, IE, ...) has journalists who were no good at Science to begin with and easily overlook such simple facts (and then accuse everyone else to be in the pockets of oil industry) - then they get impressed by spoonfeeding from people who are still wedded to Hydrogen.

If you read pure tech journals (and by tech I don't mean IT - there is hardly any science in what is generally known as information science) people have been cold about Hydrogen for decades now - even so research goes on by several commendably dedicated people and they do get due credit (minus the hype generated by idiot CEOs in gullible and stupid generic media)



I'm assuming you know enough about Carnot cycle (the fundamental thermodynamic cycle for heat-mechanical energy conversion -> this is the most optimal cycle possible and real engines try to approximate it as much as possible). And analysis shows that max thermal efficieny possible, assuming there are no other limits, depends on the initial and final temperatures of the working fluid. In ICE final temperature can be no lower than ambient (And usually far higher) while initial temperature can not be increased beyond a limit (otherwise engine's internal surfaces will sustain damage in no time) - hence the limitations (apart from the fact that you do not use ideal gases as working fluid).


Coming to batteries (this includes eletrolysis) the reason you lose energy is that even in what are known as "reversible reactions" the electro-chemical potential needed to go in one direction of the equation (this is usually the direction where battery gives out power) is less than in the other direction (this is the charging part). This is due to vagaries of activation energy barriers encoutered in the reaction AFAIK. The ratio of the two electro-chemical potentials is the max efficiency that you can achieve in theory.

For Li-ion batteries used in cellphones, the first voltage is about 3.7V (it falls considerably when battery is discharged, but that is not due to chemical properties, that is due to other limitations like internal resistance of battery) while the second voltage is about 4.1V.

So theoretically charge/discharge cycle can give back about 100*3.7/4.1 = 90% of the energy used up in charging the battery. For lead acid battery this falls to about 85%. In both cases actually efficiency achieved is 5% to 10% lower due to engineering decisions taken.


For electrolysis of water - AFAIK (and remember from my first semester chemistry lectures) the ratio falls quite a bit below 40% - hence there is no way you can recover more than 30% of the energy that goes into "charging" the battery (where charging the battery means generating H2+O2 by electrolysis of water, and discharging means creating water by reacting the two). Keep in mind that even if the second part of this "battery" is done by buring H2 and running ICE with that - you'll be dealing with Carnot cycle (rather than Gibbs Free energy) and the efficiency will be worse.



Regarding the urine part well

But seriously - if you are up to it, then it makes more sense to use urine directly as a fertiliser (rather than going on to produce urea in the first place) - that way you'll save far more energy. This sort of usage is called organic farming.
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Old 24th July 2011, 15:51   #118
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Firstly thanks @vina for the healthy debate on the topic. My interests lies in the 'greenification' of the processes in various sectors, which we have been traditionally following until now! May that be automotive, agricultural, lifestyle,.. or whichever for the matter as far it is going to affect our blue or green planet which we all love to call it, without even trying to make a chance for it to breathe the way it wants to.

I understand about the H2 production by methane gas by the same article, but the end products are the concern, which is finally H2 & CO2. Well CO2 is not as bad as CO, which is toxic & also has ozone depleting capabilities. Also CO2 is the fuel or energy needed for the greens & release O2, so it must be not of a big issue as far as the forests & greenbelts are safeguarded.

AFAIK, the carbon blacks are used in rubber industry (I assume you are pointing towards the tyres), and mostly used in the printing industry.

Hmmm, interesting about the hydrogen fuel cell concept, now I understand why the automotive majors are running behind it! (EDIT: also old habits die hard, we are used to the noise pollution & not the whining of the electric motors.)

Well, Carnot cycle is new to me as of now (thanks for highlighting), I will read it thoroughly & let me understand the concept before I comment. Pardon me, I feel very old off from the academics as my current profession & education did never met the way it should happen speaking technically! :P

Also thanks for the information about the batteries but I am thinking in the far longer term, like when the batteries are aged & subjected to recycle. How good is the recycling industry in reducing the carbon footprint?, is the real debate! Which is like an open secret in our country atleast!

BIG thanks for putting up more info on the electrolysis of water, I will make more research on this now. I have also read that the O2 generated can also aid in better fuel burning if not the H2 as fuel, well mostly its theory... It is better to have some practicals too to understand the yes's & no's of the theory & arrive at a better & realistic one! As we know that quite a many inventions are results of unintended & accidental, so am thinking to give it a try! Who knows whats gonna be on the plate on the next day's dinner!

Well about the urine fertiliser thingy, I know it from quite some time as my morning walks are through the GKVK farms, and I think we are discussing about the alternative fuels here right? Well we too do some sort of ploughing, ie., the dirt roads which also needs the fertiliser :P

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Old 24th July 2011, 16:10   #119
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Default Re: Alternate Fuels - Any Major Technologies?

Also it is a fact that the renewable energy or alternative energy comes from large inventions, but also from simple thinking like how to re-use the energy that are draining during many instances. For example, check this link. Very simple & innovative. Chrysler Experiments with Hydraulic Hybrid Minivans - Technology Review
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Old 24th July 2011, 16:12   #120
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Firstly thanks @vina for the healthy debate on the topic. My interests lies in the 'greenification' of the processes in various sectors, which we have been traditionally following until now! May that be automotive, agricultural, lifestyle,.. or whichever for the matter as far it is going to affect our blue or green planet which we all love to call it, without even trying to make a chance for it to breathe the way it wants to.
we are on the same side - I think first voluntary step should be reducing waste by any means possible, next can be reducing all unnecessary consumption.

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I understand about the H2 production by methane gas by the same article, but the end products are the concern, which is finally H2 & CO2. Well CO2 is not as bad as CO, which is toxic & also has ozone depleting capabilities. Also CO2 is the fuel or energy needed for the greens & release O2, so it must be not of a big issue as far as the forests & greenbelts are safeguarded.

AFAIK, the carbon blacks are used in rubber industry (I assume you are pointing towards the tyres), and mostly used in the printing industry.
You are right, tyre manufacturing is one of the largest users of carbon black - tyre rubber can have as much as 1/3rd by weight of carbon black in it - more makes the rubber harder and more durable, less leaves it softer (and grippier) but less durable and more porous (more water absorption)

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Hmmm, interesting about the hydrogen fuel cell concept, now I understand why the automotive majors are running behind it! (EDIT: also old habits die hard, we are used to the noise pollution & not the whining of the electric motors.)
once you start going in depth, science is fun, isn't it?

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Well, Carnot cycle is new to me as of now (thanks for highlighting), I will read it thoroughly & let me understand the concept before I comment. Pardon me, I feel very old off from the academics as my current profession & education did never met the way it should happen speaking technically! :P
That is why I dared to mention it - if you ask me to prove that Carnot Cycle is the most thermodynamically efficient possible then I'll tell you I'm out of touch

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Also thanks for the information about the batteries but I am thinking in the far longer term, like when the batteries are aged & subjected to recycle. How good is the recycling industry in reducing the carbon footprint?, is the real debate! Which is like an open secret in our country atleast!
Recycling industry is very good in reducing carbon footprint, if there is money in recycling. Presently for example truck batteries are heavily recycled. Once we have several large vehicles with lots of Li batteries, recycling will go state of the art on industrial scale.

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BIG thanks for putting up more info on the electrolysis of water, I will make more research on this now.
If you are up to it you can try doing electrolysis at home (use 12V or higher, but don't use mains supply) with salt water - you'll most likely get a smell of toilet cleaning acid - that is the HCl gas that is generated if you try to do water electrolysis this way.


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Well about the urine fertiliser thingy, I know it from quite some time as my morning walks are through the GKVK farms, and I think we are discussing about the alternative fuels here right? Well we too do some sort of ploughing, ie., the dirt roads which also needs the fertiliser :P

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