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By Wesley Bruce

From: NEN, Vol. 6, No. 6, November 1998, pp. 16-18.
New Energy News (NEN) copyright 1998 by Fusion Information Center, Inc.
COPYING NOT ALLOWED without written permission.

By Wesley Bruce

The work on Herbal Petrol, now called "Herbal fuel" is coming to fruition. The inventor Ramar Pillai is getting an international patent and is establishing a small plant in his home village. The claims of fraud seem to have had little effect on the regional government that has seen many demonstrations. Only one demonstration had failed in Deli, hundreds of miles away from the area where the plant grows. This implies that the active ingredients of the plant extract has a shelf life of only a few days or it is temperature sensitive.

A news group has been running on the subject for several years since New Energy News last covered the subject. I have been active on the news group with several postings. The web address is:

I believe that Ramar has discovered a plant that makes a hydrocarbon to repel insects and grazers. This is not unusual, as many plants are hydrocarbon rich for this reason. What is interesting is that this plant seems to make the hydrocarbon using a heat driven enzyme path-way similar to photosynthesis, with atmospheric CO2 as the carbon source and the water as the hydrogen source. Mr Ramar Pillai appears to have partly isolated the enxyme path-way and made it work in a simple chemical process. While his equipment is not much more than a cooking pot, most people forget that a beaker is just a glass cooking pot.

Some have argued that there is a mass deficit because the measured mass of the water and hydrocarbon produced reportedly exceeds the mass of ingredients. The process should release more grams of oxygen than grams of carbon it takes in. One oxygen from the water and two from the CO2 it absorbs from the atmosphere per -CH2- unit of the hydrocarbon chain. Since the the oxygen lost from the water is heavier than the carbon gained, the mass of the total mixture should be decreased not increased.

This may not be true if the process works like normal cellular processes. Little energy is required to strip a hydrogen off H2O leaving a hydroxide, OH-. It takes a lot of energy to strip the second hydrogen off a OH- to produce a free oxygen. Many cells simply discard the hydroxide and start out with another H2O. If free to react with each other, two OH- will react to produce oxygen and water, but since free oxygen would oxidize the hydrocarbon, the plant needs to segregate the OH- and the hydrocarbon. The plant dumps the OH- into the water beyond the cell or bind it to another ion to produce a long lasting chemical trap for it.

If Ramar Pillai is able to chemically trap the OH- with an additive, he can get the hydrocarbon production to maximize without producing the oxygen from the water. Later additions of chemicals to the mix after the oxygen is extracted could liberate the oxygen. But since this is waste water to Ramar, he is not bothering the retrieve the oxygen. If the oxygen is easily retrievable from the waste water we have something that makes fuel from CO2 and water, while in step two it yields oxygen on demand, potentially reducing the costs of space craft life support systems.

Ramar Pillai's reaction is heat driven so it is not a net energy source. It could convert almost any available heat source into an easy to burn fuel. This is a great break through for India assuming there are few limits to the supply of the key herb. India will need to look at protecting(and farming) the plant as well as the process.

The next key area of work is to overcome the apparently limited shelf life of the plant extract. Mr. Ramar Pillai may have solved that problem already.

I suggest we watch the work for further developments.

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Jan. 11, 1999.