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gaiatechnician

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Posts: 36
Reply with quote  #1 
I live close about 10 minutes from an inlet where I could get sea water.  If you pee into seawater, you get struvite chrystalizing out,  Wash the crystals and you have a fertilizer that has collected phosphorus from the sea water, and urea from the pee.   (I have never done this) but it probably means that urinals in coastal cities should be flushed with salt water.      Anyway that was just a segway.   I use a solar panel to run a 3 or 4 watt air pump and all the other power that the panel produces is wasted.  Could I run the air pump and use the excess electricity  for "valuable"  electrolysis?  If you electrolize very salty water, you get chlorine and hydrogen bubbled off.  (And a wee bit of oxygen).  Send the chlorine up through dolomite lime or eggshells and it reacts with the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate to produce magnesium chloride  and calcium chloride.  You are left with salty sodium hydroxide after you electrolysis the salt for a while,  Add that to the calcium chloride and you get salt and a percipitation of calcium hydroxide.  Calcium hydroxide is builders lime.  Of course you only will get a little of it but at least you are getting something.   There is probably other "useful" reactions too.  I always wondered why stuff like that is not done with solar panels in places like haiti when they had the water borne illnesses killing so many people.  (Just to produce chlorine for water treatment).  Anyway, one problem with my "system" is that hydrogen is being produced and I have no real use for it..  And it is a big explosion risk if it is collected.  I should mention that I would be having reflux of water to the dolomite lime to wash out the calcium chloride as it gets produced (in the imaginary system).   But I don't know how to add the sodium hydroxide without calcium getting back to the electrodes and ruining them.    Brian   

Garage_Hermit

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, Brian !

Very nice thinking !
Wish I was a chemical engineer !  (I think there *are* one or two on here BTW...).

Quote:
urinals in coastal cities should be flushed with salt water


I live in a coastal city, but we are still 100 Ft above sea level...
The energy required to pump seawater up 100 foot, not to mention the technical installation required to get the water in the first place  (we have a 40-foot tidal range...) would probably far outweigh the benefits...

Also, urinals cater for only (supposedly...) 50% of the population, whereas the whole population would have to pay for the investment [eek]

On a scale of priorities, I'd respectfully suggest that the question is about 99th place at the moment; in my region, we are far more concerned about pollution of groundwater, due to intensive pig-farming, not to mention an historic problem relating to presence of heavy metals from mining activity...

(oops, I just knocked value off my house...)

Regarding production of hydrogen, could the latter not be used for running a rocket stove (or your BMW...) ?

G_H





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gaiatechnician

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi, Hermit, I think it is 5 liters salt water to one liter pee or something like that,  I can look it up again.  And this produces a high grade essentially sterile  fertilizer. It takes very little energy to pump water up 100 ft.  All our water gets pumped from sooke lake which is about 15 miles away. We are by the sea too.  But lots and lots of places rely on ground water for everything and it is pumped a lot more than 100 ft up.     Well, the less ground water you pump the safer it is.  And there is only so much of it.  So, salt water urinals would be a help.  And sewage treatment is a billion dollar thing in this little town.  (We don't treat it, it goes straight out to sea and our local government has worked for about 3 decades to insure it continues to go out untreated).  Cost of a real treatment plant for Victoria is a Billion Bux and it is mandated by the government but so far they have stalled.    Hydrogen is a very  dangerous gas.   Chemistry is all relative.  Producing enough chlorine to sterilize 5 gallon batches of drinking water would be extremely useful in some areas. If you don't have grid tie in,  you can charge batteries but what happens when they are full.  There needs to be various strategies to use the power. 
Garage_Hermit

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Reply with quote  #4 
Brian, I think I get you !

Now for the application - trying to apply this strategy in MY region:

Suppose we pump FREE seawater & use it to flush the ground at intensive pig-rearing sites: this recharges the groundwater while cleaning it up; the runoff then returns to the sea, producing a high-grade fertilizer (?)

However due to presence of  phosphates and nitrates in the pig-urine, eutrophication (cf. http://books.google.fr/books?id=B0hTaum5vh4C&pg=PA260&lpg=PA260&dq=proliferation+of+green+algae+coast+channel&source=bl&ots=_eFRDwiNsB&sig=gxsPu1W-RZ2cnKnrv9LteOCsZ-E&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=dg5WVPOYB8bBPOThgaAL&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=proliferation%20of%20green%20algae%20coast%20channel&f=false) occurs, causing proliferation of noxious algae that wipes out the seafood industry (scallops, mussels, oysters round  here...). At low tide the algae decays, creating hydrogen sulfide that causes ANOXIA and prevents folks from horse-riding or otherwise using the beach; thus we have cleaned up the groundwater, but wiped out two major industries (aquaculture, tourism).

OK, guess I'm just being the devil's advocate (again) -- I forgot the electrolysis bit...

So guess it is worth some more study [frown]

G_H

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gaiatechnician

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi, GH. You are completely obsessed with pigs.  I cannot help you on that.    You use the seawater in urinals to flush  pee.  We don't poo in urinals up here. (Human pee only.) Poo messes with the chemical reactions.    Sruvate crystals come out of solution  due to a reaction between the urea and the chemicals in the sea water and they are used as fertilizer.  So you end up with high grade nitrogen rich  fertilizer with some extra magnesium and phosphate as a bonus from the sea water.  And a fresh water bonus or use reduction in your system equal to the amount of sea water that you use.  It would be a neat gimmick for "green" hotels.  Just for your interest and amusement,  I did not invent this system.  It comes from the Netherlands and I think it is used in parts of Asia. I am sure that once people build these, problems will be found and (some solved) but lots of work has already been done.   
gaiatechnician

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Reply with quote  #6 
Anyone interested in the electrolysis component of the thread?   Specifically trying to make  (and document how to) enough chlorine to sterilize drinking water in 5 gallon amounts for poor countries and also how to make builders lime from limestone?   They can do this with heat, problem is that trees that provide shade and food get destroyed in the process.  So in the "3rd world" context,  a method to make lime with electrolysis might be practical.
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