Electrochemical Industries and their Interest in the Development of Water Powers

Lawrence Addicks
1916 Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers  
OF PAPER The electrochemical industries have grown to be of great value to this countrv; they have a fundamental interest in the development of cheap power; they offer nearly ideal power loads of magnitude; they must be located strategically as regards supplies and markets; Niagara power is not cheap enough nor is it sufficient in its present state of development to afford growth to these industries; the industries have so far been hardly strong enough to develop large powers themselves; great
more » ... themselves; great expansion should follow the development of cheaper power in accessible locations; and the country is vitally interested in the development of the nitrate industry, which must have very cheap power in great quantity in order to exist. In view of all these considerations, a liberal water power policy on the part of the government would seem to be a step in the right direction. THE INDUSTRIAL processes founded upon electrochemistry have a part in the manufacture of a very wide range of commercial products. By definition they all require electric power in greater or less quantity and in many instances power is a large item in the cost sheet. The power requirements vary enormously, however, in different cases, and many other considerations enter into the determination whether a given industry can flourish in a given location. It is the purpose of this paper to point out briefly the interrelation of some of these factors and the interest the industries have in the development of cheap power. The electric current may be used for its chemical effect, giving oxidation products at the anode and reduction products at the cathode in an electrolytic cell; or it may be used for its heat effect in an electric furnace, where high temperatures and a controlled atmosphere are desirable; or both effects may be utilized, as in the electrolysis of fused salts. Finally, we have the effects of electric discharges through gases. It is not generally appreciated to what extent electrochemical processes have entered into some phase, at least, of nearly every branch of our industrial life. A small beginning in electro-385
doi:10.1109/t-aiee.1916.4765388 fatcat:xmxu7f2ryjhhpnaqxsv3qzshru