Navigation Links
Brewing a blast-less fertilizer
Date:9/22/2007

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
gail.cleere@dhs.gov
202-254-5691
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Miller Brewing selects Procuri software
2. Sprecher Brewing unveils award-winning digital office
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... , February 12, 2016 ... Efforts by Enabling Scientific Understanding of Complex Diseases ... Rare Diseases --> ... diagnostics in South Asia and a leading provider of ... contribute $10 million to the GenomeAsia 100K consortium ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Germany and GERMANTOWN, ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced ... RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio ... The panels enable researchers to select from over 20,000 ... and discover interactions between genes, cellular phenotypes and disease ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... cutting-edge information focused on the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and therapeutics, ... sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards – Recognizing Excellence in the ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of accuracy and ... instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:2/2/2016)... RESTON, Va. , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... contract award from the U.S. Army Research Office ... extend the range and sensitivity of the company,s ... DoD,s Past Accounting Mission and, more generally, defense-related ... its DNA phenotyping capabilities (predicting appearance and ancestry ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, ... Heart Association (AHA) announced plans to develop a first ... cognitive computing power of IBM Watson. In the first ... disease, AHA, IBM (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok ... metrics and health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):