View Full Version : Manufacturing - Island Economy

Ivy J.
06-16-2009, 04:18 PM
I'm working on a small story, just basically for fun, but I intend for it to perhaps see the light of day someday, so I was hoping for some input. I was wondering if anyone could think of an industry that could be based on an island (think close-to-modern-day Hawaii, one of the smaller islands), where chemicals could be used that are volatile enough to explode and cause a shockwave big enough to affect most (if not all) of the island. I don't need the details of the process, although they could help if you have them. I just need an industry. And any ecological impacts of such an explosion would be useful as well (toxicity of gases produced, etc).

Thanks a lot in advance,

Ivy J.

06-16-2009, 04:22 PM
Well, a lot of small islands (Guam, Hawaii, Okinawa, etc), have military bases on them, which tend to have all kinds of nasty explosives and such.

06-16-2009, 10:02 PM
I think the stuff used in turning raw coca into cocaine is pretty volatile.

06-17-2009, 07:36 AM

06-17-2009, 07:41 AM
One of my favorite Tintin gags begins with the two detectives pacing up and down a wharf with the captain. One of the detectives spots some bags and asks the captain, "What is this stuff, Guano?" The captain says, "Guano, let's see, how can I put this." About that time, a seagull poops on the detective's hat. The captain laughs and says, "Guano? There's a free sample!"

06-17-2009, 07:42 AM
Okay, so to prove my point; from wikipedia:

The high concentration of nitrates also made guano an important strategic commodity. The War of the Pacific (1879 to 1883) between the Peru-Bolivia alliance and Chile was primarily based upon Bolivia's attempt to tax Chilean guano harvesters and over control of a part of the Atacama desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast. The discovery during the 1840s of the use of guano as a fertilizer and saltpeter as a key ingredient in explosives made the area strategically valuable.

So they would have the raw materials to make explosives. I think you need sulpheric acid, also, depends on the formulation. Pigs are a good source of nitrates also, both in their refuse and fat. Add some stores of saltpeter and you're good to go.

06-17-2009, 07:52 AM
I'm only familiar with a water purifying station (and not a good one) and a bottling company on a small island (mostly beer).

So not much help. Unless beer tanks explode. Toxic effects might be limited to algae blooms tho.

06-29-2009, 03:02 AM
I manage off-shore manufacturing plants, you might consider a cleaning solvent, perhaps being used to clean ink or adhesive off of machinery if there is a labeling application involved. Gasoline is cheaper than solvent though (highly dangerous, not recommended) and I've seen some companies actually place basins of gasoline under the machinery so it will be handy if they need to clean up a glue sling. In the US OSHA and EPA would be shutting the place down if they saw this though. This probably wouldn't be enough to cause an explosion the size you are talking about though unless it catches fire, there's a small explosion, and the location is next to something larger and volatile.

06-30-2009, 06:41 PM
A lot of the world's fertilizer's rely on minerals that are found in guano. It's possible that an island might have a facility that made certain types of fertilizers that could be highly explosive(e.g. ammonium nitrate).