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Old 01-11-2007, 10:13 PM   #1
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Environmental issues

Boozhoo niji,

I had a rather long day, learned a bunch of stuff today and decided to post on what I had learned. I searched for threads on environmental issues and could not find any on this site, so I decided to start a new thread on the issues of what is going on with the environment.

This thread is more for what you as individuals are doing to help protect our mother earth.

I am doing all I can, trying to lessen my "carbon footprint" by parking my gas guzzling Bronco, and buying a more fuel efficient Subaru, switching the lightbulbs that get used the most with florescents, doing all I can to save energy around the house. I also try to keep as many trees around the house as possible. I only cut one as a last resort.

I am also in a line of work that helps me to help the environment. I work on lawnmowers, chain saws and whatnot. Now you might say well, these things are harmful to the environment. They cut grass, cut trees, and pretty much wreck havoc on the vegitation, but, at the same time all of these small engines around the counrty are also little polluters. People are going to do what they are going to do, they will cut grass, trees or whatever. My job is to make them run as effeciently as possible with as little emissions as possible.

The guidelines for "tuning up" these machines are actually set by the government and are very strict. I just got done with two days of training, more of a refresher course, on learning how to use the tools and manuals for the precision settings on these machines. The school was sponsered by a major manufacturer, Echo. We were even allowed to abuse and ultimately destroy new units to see how customers damage them and what the evidence looks like. A damaged unit can still run and polute the air worse than your car, and its my job to fix it.

Finally, Echo teaches us the current trends set forth by the EPA, and how the company is setting out to meet the new criteria. At the same time they also do their own research on other things going on in similar industries, like the auto industry. One of the topics that came up for discussion is E-85.

For those of you that dont know, E-85 is a "alternative fuel", from renewable resources. It is made of 85% ethanol, which is made from corn and other agricultural refuse, and 15% gasoline. You have to buy a "flex fuel" vehicle to use this special gas. You can use either regular gas or the E-85 alternative without flipping any switches or worrying about anything at all on your car. It does it all automatically. Supposedly it is a cleaner burning fuel with fewer emissions. Finally E-85 is cheaper, by more thana few pennies. It all sounds good right?

Here is what you dont know, and what I learned today, and what the oil companies and government would rather you dont know. First off, this subject came up because a customer put E-85 in his line trimmer and it ran like crap. So we had to find out why. I will not go into the technical specifications, but the engine has to be "tuned" to run on it. A small engine does not have a computer like your car does, so it cannot retune itself. As a matter of fact, special parts would have to be manufactured for the engine to work on E-85.

Second, in a car that is set up for E-85, the so called "Flex Fuel" vehicle, you get less fuel milage than regular gasoline in the same car. In the long run it costs more cents per mile to run on E-85 than it does on gasoline. So you are not saving money. Never mind the fact that the E-85 vehicle cost more in the first place. Ethanol is very acidic. It loves to eat rubber and plastic, and it corrodes metal. All of the fuel lines need to be made from stainless steel, a special fuel pump installed, different injectors, sensors, and lots of stuff that cost extra money.

E-85 supposedly burns cleaner right? Heh, they dont tell you what it takes to make the stuff. Everyone know what a BTU is? Personally I dont know exactly how they figure them out, but all you need to know is its a method of measuring energy. So is horsepower, but that measures physical energy, the ability to move something. BTUs indicate an amount of heat transfer if my science is right. Both A/Cs and heaters are sized up with BTUs. Both machines move heat one way or another. OK so heres a fast fact. It takes approximately 28,000 BTUs to make one gallon of gasoline. This is figured out with the electricity that is used, coal was burned to make electricity. Also heat is generated to refine the crude oil (I think) to refine it. 28,000 BTUs sounds like a lot of energy doesnt it?

Heres another fast fact. To make one gallon of ethanol requires around 85,000 BTUs. In summation, it takes more than twice as much energy to make something that is only a little more than half as efficient as a traditional fuel.

So why are the EPA, and automakers really pushing this flex fuel garbage? The reason: polotics and money.

The automakers have been told to clean their act up. They have to maintain an average MPG of all the vehicles they make. Every vehicle gets a certain MPG, and every one manufactured (total numbers of cars and trucks made, not number of models) is totalled up and averaged, and that has to be better than where the government sets the bar. So how can the auto industry manufacture all of these gas guzzling trucks, SUVs and even commercial trucks like semis? The answer is, the government allots so many bonus MPG for every flex fuel manufactured. So if you got one pickup that only gets 15 MPG, you can make a flex fuel vehicle and add say, 20 MPG to the "dirty" one. It makes the big company look good.

I am hoping that if I can take the knowledge that I have, and pass it on to you, I can help out the environment just a little more. If you thought I was hard on ethanol, you should have heard the instructor. He almost sounded prejudice against the stuff.

So now its your turn. Do you have a good tip to save some gas, something to protect the environment, or even rant about how something should be done? Do you have something to "stick it to the man"? Post it here.

Derek
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:51 AM   #2
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Hi Derek
we could take 500 Semis off the road if the shipping companies switch to the railroads to ship their products to the markets. One train = 500 semis. about 1 Million Gallons fuel saved and the air is cleaner too. Here is the info goto http://www.gorail.org/home/GoRail/Ou...itsofRail.aspx for the info.
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OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.

Last edited by White Powwow Dancer; 01-13-2007 at 08:55 AM..
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