Navigation Links
Brewing a blast-less fertilizer

Down in the green, rolling hills and farmlands around Lexington, Kentucky, Darrell Taulbee can be found mixing up a batch of his homegrown fertilizer. But hes not looking to grow a better Big Boy or distill a smoother bourbon, he tells us. Funded by the University of Kentucky and the Homeland Securitys Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), Taulbee sets his sights on something far more sinister.

Darrell Taulbee putters with this stuff to make sure another Oklahoma bombing never happens again.

It was common fertilizer that Timothy McVeigh used to build the ferocious bomb that ripped into the Murrah Building, killing 167 innocent men, women, and especially children. Mixing ammonium nitrate with hate and fuel oil, McVeigh brought us a homegrown brand of terrorism and a raw grief from which we still reel.

Ammonium nitrate (AN) is a fertilizer used to create bumper crops. But, when combined with fuel oil (FO) it becomes ANFO, an explosive mixture of terrifying potential. The United States produces and imports millions of tons of it every year.

Taulbee is looking for ways to to reduce the destructive power of AN. He is eyeing coal combustion by-productsfly ash from electric power plants (120 million tons are produced yearly at coal-burning power plants)to make AN less deadly. He coats AN pellets with fly-ash, packs them into metal canisters, and takes them deep into the Kentucky hills. There he blows them up.

Taulbee is methodical. With Tom Thurman, a retired bomb-scene investigator for the FBI now at Eastern Kentucky University, he learned that a mix of 20 percent coal ash to 80 percent AN keeps an explosion from burning all its fuel. This renders a blast far less violent.

There are no commercially available options totally effective in preventing ammonium nitrate from being used as an explosive, Taulbee points out, Coal ash wont stop the blast from initiating, but it will stop it from propagating. Whats more, he adds, the ash is classified as non-toxic by the EPA and may have some beneficial effects for crops. Its inexpensive and coats easily onto AN particles, forming a hard outer layer difficult to remove.

Future research will include confirmation of Taulbees results by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the New Mexico Institute of Technology and/or the FBI. There will also be more extensive evaluations of the potential impacts on agriculture.

Mike Matthews oversees Taulbees research for S&T. He says, If Taulbee can eliminate much of the McVeigh factor in ammonium nitrate fertilizers, hell go a long way in helping to contain the threat of these homegrown fertilizer bombs.


Contact: Gail Cleere
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology

Related biology technology :

1. Miller Brewing selects Procuri software
2. Sprecher Brewing unveils award-winning digital office
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Imagine Exhibitions and Universal Partnerships & Licensing ... March 2016 at Melbourne Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Immediately following the Australia premiere, ... dates. The Exhibition is based on Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World, one of the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 30, 2015 ... today that the company has acquired Cypher Genomics, Inc., ... and robust human genomic interpretation software solutions. The ... who will join HLI including Cypher CEO and Co-founder, ... head of HLI,s Pediatric Business.  Financial details of the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 30, 2015  HUYA Bioscience ... China,s pharmaceutical innovations, today announced it ... Drug Development Fund (KDDF) to foster collaboration between KDDF ... development and commercialization of healthcare products for the global ... as an important source of new innovative preclinical and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Ill. , Nov. 30, 2015  AbbVie, is ... program that focuses on a daily routine for managing ... take their medication can affect the way the body ... follow to their a daily routine are important. The ... to help patients better manage their hypothyroidism by establishing ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into ... and Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based ... tools. The partnership will support the institute,s efforts ... chemical research information internally and with external collaborators. ... for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy ... and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," ... Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises ... to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):