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Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?
15

Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

(OP)
There are no engineering solutions, only incremental mitigations.
Discuss.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Agreed, and sometimes mitigations backfire - e.g. subsidence of land around New Orleans and increased risk of flooding due to years of flood control from upstream ACE dams and levees - no flooding means the wetlands dry up and sink, no new soil is added from flood-borne silt.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Interesting comment. Not sure I holy wholly agree.

But, one thing that your comment does is draw attention to something that is a huge divide between groups in this country (the USA). We've got one side which is demanding a total overhaul of the economic system as a solution to climate change. And, one the other side, folks are demanding that changes be limited to smaller, incremental steps only. Steps that will cause minimal disruption to their lives and to the economy.




RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

I wonder what the side demanding "a total overhaul of the economic system" is willing to give up (in order to reduce their energy expenditure, since that's what I think it'll take)? Sourcing energy from non fossil fuels will take time (and money) to develop, if feasible.

btw Josh … I suspect a typo "holy" ? (or wholly ?)

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

While I'm not a green new deal fan, I don't mean to disparage the side that's causing for dramatic change to the economy. That's what they feel is needed. They believe it. The other extreme is also a problem.

What I truly believe is that those of us who are not on either extreme of the climate change debate have to step up. We have to accept SOME disruption in an attempt to prevent the worst case scenario. We have to accept compromise.... And, find reasonable, incremental solutions to move in the right direction.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

A side isn't really a side, it's a spectrum, as is the case of the opposite side. Not everyone who agrees that something needs to be done believes that total disruption is even a viable solution, and not everyone who is on the other side of the fence believes that nothing needs to be done.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Yes, and not only is each side a spectrum, there is no fence dividing the two "sides", it is a single spectrum.

The division of the debate along party political lines in the USA (and also Australia) is most unfortunate, but people who want practical action on reduction of GHG emissions should avoid the party politics as far as possible.

Regarding the opening question, I agree, but I'm not sure what the implications for future action are. My approach can be summarised as:

1) There are immediate costs associated with reducing GHG emissions.
2) There are long term costs associated with not reducing them.
3) We should do everything we can to minimise the nett long term cost.

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services
http://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

2
I was going to add that painting such a spectrum with the views of an extreme minority is counterproductive, particularly since the compression of the spectrum into the extreme eliminates the middle ground. It's unfortunate that we allow such painters to manipulate everyone into being adversaries.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

generally agree with Doug, but I'd say …

1) There are immediate costs associated with reducing GHG emissions, and these costs may not be equally shared between countries. [1]
2) There are (probably) long term costs associated with not reducing them, and possibly dire consequences for not reducing them.
3) Minimising the nett long term cost is pretty much a crap shoot. We don't Know what these future costs are, we don't Know solutions that Will reduce the future effects.

[1] This could be addressed by a thing called "leadership" … individual countries "taking one for the team" in the short term, hoping that in the long term others will "come on-side" and rally to the cause.

The problem is how to balance known immediate costs with uncertain future benefits. I liken it to insurance, how much medical insurance do you have ? how much life insurance ?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

5
Unless it is as simple as switching to LED bulbs, instead of using incandescent, good luck. In 31 years, we have yet to eradicate Polio and that is a Global Effort; one as simple as a shot in the arm or oral drops. The idea of a global..., a true global effort to curtail GHG emissions or any other climate initiative, is one that presents real challenges to the Geo-Political balance of world powers and each countries economies, it is just pie-in-the-sky nonsense. And the result of a best effort is what, a 1 or 1-1/2 degree temporary halt, that buys "X" amount of time before "What"?

NYC Mayor de Blasio wants to build a seawall around Manhattan, that is easy enough to do. Sell water lots that require the seawall as the base of what ever is built on top. In other words, no tax money required.

Look at the last 30 years of declining coal energy. Congress didn't come up with even one good idea to put the people who worked in coal production back to gainful work. This would have been the best Demonstration Project to show government was a trusted steward of any climate initiative. They failed to the nth degree. They got richer all the same.

All the chuckle-head countries at the UN will vote YEA on any feel good measure as long as it has the golden words "Non-binding Agreement" are attached. The EU & English speaking countries need to stop peddling the idea that we can make a global impact, when the rest of the world, will only see it as an opportunity to gain an economic, military or even acquisition advantage against the West.

The entire subject of any climate taxation needs to end and a real discussion about 21st century Nuclear power needs to take place.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

The issue is that discussing how the average person can reduce their carbon footprint and their individual impact is nice...but extremely small potatoes compared to the pollution and footprints of corporations.

While we certainly could do something if there was a united global effort, business interests (ie, profits) will not allow that to happen until we are far to deep to reverse course. There are some indications we may already be at that point. So I remain skeptical that any substantial progress will be made.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

yes, but politically corporations have better defenses than individuals.

I'm waiting for the call to reduce energy consumption to require us to give up labour saving devices (and entertainments) … "Why you so lazy that you need dish washers and so many other things … you should wash your dishes by hand, and save the energy. All your conveniences are just energy expensive short-cuts, 'cause you're lazy. "

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

I like the comments from EPOXYBOT above

You know what I want ?...... I'll tell you what I want ....

I want to see AOC stand on top of a table and scream "Nuclear Power is NOT A SOLUTION !!" ... People in my political movement WILL NOT PERMIT THIS !!!

Wild applause from the crowd ....

Then Presidential Candidate Jay Inslee forms a Conga line and everyone dances around said table a few times ....

This is how America will form all industrial policy from now on

That will kill things off pretty well ...

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

People already try to make that argument since the politicians won't rock the money boat with the corporations.

Unless people begin protesting in mass, like the students in Europe, nothing significant will happen and our species will have to live with the consequences for as long as the planet allows.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

MJCronin, that's not even a new stance? And has she even said that, or are you just putting words in her mouth?

After nuclear incidents, the high levels of regulation/oversight/construction costs, and the growing issue with where to store spent fuel, nuclear will sadly probably never pick back up in the states.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote:

"Why you so lazy that you need dish washers and so many other things … you should wash your dishes by hand, and save the energy. All your conveniences are just energy expensive short-cuts, 'cause you're lazy. "

Modern dishwashers are extremely efficient, compared to the human; likely, you'd be wasting more energy with hand washing in hot water than a machine would.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Yes, I have one of those. It takes 2 hours to wash the dishes. I normally have other stuff I don't want in the dishwasher. I rarely use it :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Having just read the latest issue of New Scientist I was thinking of posting something here, but having read the last few posts I don't think I'll bother. There is not much point in trying to discuss engineering when most see it as a party political issue.

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services
http://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

IDS,

Agreed. I honestly don't even know why this forum is still here since a decent percentage refuse to acknowledge the issue and discuss options.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

see first post "there are no engineering solutions". But you're right, we easily stray into the political side of the problem

Engineering mitigations would be …
improving the efficiency of our energy use,
improving the efficiency of energy production,
building sea walls (of ever increasing height ?)
building better storm shelters
developing food/crop generation from the warming oceans
etc

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

what's the potential/possibility of scrubbing CO2 from vehicle exhaust ? Maybe something like a catalytic converter, maybe convert the CO2 gas into solid/liquid, maybe using some of the waste heat ??

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Scrubbing into what though? Unless it is converted into something of use, that just creates a different waste stream. And if you can scrub it into something of use in a convenient enough way that consumers will participate in the process, please let me know when you are accepting investments, because I'd like to get in on the ground floor of that venture.

I don't see how turning it into a solid or liquid helps the situation. You've still got the CO2, except now you need to expend large amounts of energy to keep it a solid or liquid. Unless there is an outlet for the material once captured, you're just collecting waste.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

IDS -

I still would have liked to have seen you post a link about that article.

My belief is any short term carbon reduction solutions will be political more than technological. Getting the general population to accept the idea of more nuclear power plants. Getting more of the general public willing to accept some restrictions to economic growth (i.e. regulations or taxes) in order to curb carbon emissions.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Scrubbing vehicle CO2 …
"I don't see how turning it into a solid or liquid helps the situation." … well, it takes the CO2 out of the atmosphere. Yes, it potentially creates a different waste to deal with … clearly a problem. That's why I posited the idea of a "catalytic converter".

Converting gas to a liquid (waste) clearly helps in volume terms. My 1/2 baked idea was a waste tank (like your gas tank) that would need to be emptied and refilled periodically. What does it take to take CO2 out of a gaseous solution ? in the presence of all the other exhaust gases ?? I assume this'd need power, so I thought maybe the waste heat from the engine could be put to good purpose ? If you need "real" power then taping off the engine (a generator) doesn't seem unacceptable.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

But the "catalytic converter" doesn't just disappear emission byproducts, it converts them into less harmful materials. Aside from hydrocarbons, which would be undesirable, what conversion of CO2 would be beneficial for this purpose?

When you are talking about capturing the CO2 in some way, let's say a tank that one would periodically empty as waste, it still needs to go somewhere. Just collecting it is not a solution. Like I said before, there needs to be some useful purpose for it in the end for the carbon capture idea to work. We can't just collect it forever and call it a day. That carbon is part of the natural cycle, even as manipulated by us as it is, locking it away somewhere does not seem like a good idea to me.

Reduction is the best and most impactful step we can take by a long shot.

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

If the exhaust CO2 could be collected, at all, into a solid, say, that would be much easier than trying to suck up the CO2 directly from the air. If you could turn it into a solid, then storing it in underground salt caves or somesuch would be feasible.

There was mention of sequestering methane with zeolites impregnated with iron in the news yesterday, but can't find the reference.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Josh,

I went to the New Scientist site, searched for "climate change".

There's an article about the impact of zero carbon emissions, "UK climate report: What your life could be like in a low-carbon future". IMO hopelessly optimistic and draconian at the same time. Claims that emissions have dropped 40% since 1990 … interesting claim, data ?? Says due to closing coal fired power stations … ok, good, but once done waht's next ?

Says you won't want (or be able to) buy a gas car in 10 years. So much for personal choice. And where are these batteries coming from, going to ?? Europe does use a lot more public transport than the US (and other places that have large spaces between things). My guess is they'll be reducing the number of cars (for the proles, the elite will still have theirs).

And you'll be changing (not you'll be choosing to) your diet, away from meat, in part "because it's good for you".

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

rb1957 -

Thanks I'll look for it.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quick Solutions:

How about a standard (4) day workweek in the United States? Done. Can you imagine the commuting time saved and mileage saved every year on vehicles? (Emissions, Vehicle Maintenance / Tires!!) - How simple would that be? We could start next week! The world does not stop when we have a 3 day weekend. Yes, some "essential" services could exist but everything else is closed.

I am all for anything that can be considered conservation of natural resources, habitat, or protecting the environment. However, we have to acknowledge it has become political and it has become more about finding some method of changing the economic system than protecting the environment.

I very much am in line with the environmental concerns. However, the "climate change" verbiage bothers me. I just do not think we know enough. We have had warmer periods previously and seems we made it through pretty good. Colder times would be much more problematic. So, what makes it so bad? Can we explain every natural factor that led us out of the last ice age? Have we ruled all of those "warming" factors out?

Solar - Great! Here in the northeast we seem to be cutting up down every 20 acre tract of forest to put in solar panels.

Batteries - Great! Look at some of the images online from China where they mine the rare earths for all the batteries.

There is no easy solution on the production side. We would need drastic changes to our way of life in order reduce our "consumption" And that is what this should really be about - how much should we consume just to do the things we think we are suppose to do. Some of what we do is completely ludicrous - like driving hours in each direction each day just to get to work. It is the system that we have built, however, is it realistic to think we can keep doing this?

How do you get an entire civilization to take a step back?

Back to my original thought -- How about a 4 day work week?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

LSPSCAT,
You've got my vote 2thumbsup

I always said I'd be glad to trade up to a 10 hour standard work-day 4 times a week rather than the 5 days a week schedule so time is not lost to make it more palatable to the higher ups.

Also I'll take a raise in pay along with my shortened work week shadeshappy

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

My second theme was all about conservation, so we will not be providing pay raises in my Utopia!!

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote:

Can you imagine the commuting time saved and mileage saved every year on vehicles?

Is there data to back this up? I would think that there would be a possible increase in leisure travel that might actually exceed the commute time saved, at least, for some people.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Well how am I supposed to afford all my newly attained 3 day weekends without a pay raise?! sadeyes

Andrew H.
www.mototribology.com

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

I will try to dig this up because I had actually pulled some data back in 2009 for construction projects with vehicle counts and it is in general substantially lower. The exceptions are tourist hot spots / 3 day weekend camping type areas that see increased traffic.

Anecdotally here in the northeast it is pretty remarkable. Try driving to Boston during a weekday anytime from 4:30 AM until 10:00 AM. Now try that on a Saturday morning....clear sailing.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

There ya go. Try to save emissions by not driving to work one day a week, people just want to run around doing all kinds of other stuff. You're supposed to stay the h3ll home :)

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

As we quickly devolve into an authoritarian rule making cycle! It is a dangerous game to try and dictate behavior.

My main point is if we were actually serious we would have debates about the actual purpose and use of the energy we consume.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

and so (again) we're talking the political aspects rather than the engineering ones. NP, it is a political problem; and you (LSPSCAT) are mentioning many concerns I have with the political issue … if we were really serious we'd be doing many different things than what we're doing.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

So back to the engineering:

You can Google and do some quick research and I have attached one study of Southern CA emissions that saw a pretty good decrease in activity on weekends. (80% decrease in business activity / 35% Reduction in NOx)

So for sake of argument let us say we have concluded that a (4) day work week is an incremental positive step for the environment and something we could quickly implement.

What next?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

LSPSCAT: lithium ion batteries- the ones used in battery EVs, don't use rare earth (lanthanide) materials. Wind turbine and electric vehicle magnets use a little Nd/Pr, but that is a features for money deal- it makes the alternators/motors smaller and more efficient, but they can be replaced with magnetless induction motors if the Nd/Pr becomes too rare or expensive. And the magnets don't go anywhere- when you're done with them, you can easily recover the Nd/Pr to make another magnet. The comparatively tiny batteries used in mild hybrids like the Prius are nickel-rare earth metal hydride batteries, and those do use some lanthanides- but not much of them. And those batteries are useless for battery EVs, because their energy density is too low and their self-discharge rate is too high.

rb1957: the reason you want to make CO2 as a product of combustion is the same reason it's hard to make CO2 into anything useful- it has low Gibbs free energy, i.e. chemical potential energy. Scrubbing the CO2 out of the exhaust of cars defeats the purpose of making CO2 as a product of combustion in the 1st place- whatever you use to do that, will take more energy to make than you'd liberate from the burning of the carbon fraction of your fuel in the 1st place. You're better off to store the energy in a form which doesn't emit that CO2 in the 1st place, such as a battery. That way you have no emissions to clean up from the millions of vehicle tailpipes- instead, if you still need to use fossils to make the energy in the 1st place, you have the much easier job to scrub the CO2 out of the exhaust of one large power plant. That's easier, and cheaper, because it can be done at much larger scale and hence is more energy efficient- but of course it still leaves the huge problem of where do you find a hole large and deep enough to dispose of all that CO2? And of course just scrubbing out the CO2, releasing it from the scrubbing agent and compressing it for disposal consumes on the order of 20-30% of the energy you liberate from burning coal. Most of the schemes for "carbon capture and sequestration" are built with the intention to use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. That's better than mining natural CO2 deposits for that purpose (which is sometimes done), but it results in even MORE fossil CO2 in the atmosphere, not less.

As to the choice to buy a gasoline car: 80% of miles driven in cars and light trucks could be easily replaced by battery EVs. What's stopping us? The cost of disposing CO2 to the atmosphere is FREE, and no technology can compete with FREE. So what do we do with the 20% of miles driven that aren't amenable to EVs? The ones driven in rural and remote areas, too far apart to be served by EVs? Biofuels are the solution there, and in my opinion they're the solution for long distance aircraft and transport too. Biofuels solve, or at least CAN solve, the fossil GHG emissions problem but they leave the toxic emissions problem. That matters a lot less though, because emissions at 30,000 ft or between cities matter a lot less than emissions in dense urban environment a few feet away from people who are breathing.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

moltenmetal: I am mainly trying to get us into a different direction. Instead of more of the same, can we build a better mousetrap or do we even need a mousetrap? What passive steps that do not necessarily require new investment, new designs, new products can we take to reduce consumption or change our way of life? Hopefully for the better!

Need to work a little against our engineering instincts and try for simpler solutions maybe.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

it seems the future holds less choices, less freedom of choice, than today.

Of course the response to that could easily be "yeah, 'cause you guys effed it up so much. Thanks"

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

"What passive steps that do not necessarily require new investment, new designs, new products can we take to reduce consumption or change our way of life? Hopefully for the better?"

What you seem to be asking is what can we do that will cost us nothing, in either money or restricted choices, but will be effective at replacing the source of the majority of energy we use.

The answer is simple: it's too big a problem to be solved that way.

What we do need is to change how we live. We need to make the right choices- based not on fallacious reasoning, but on the basis of good 3rd party LCAs which demonstrate that the new thing we're doing is better than the old. We also need massive investment in new ways to make and to consume energy, based on those LCAs, so we can achieve the results we want (getting where we need to go, keeping our homes and businesses lit and heated or cooled etc.) without generating fossil GHG emissions in the process. And all of that will cost us- in both treasure AND freedom of choice.

All "passive" solutions are partial solutions. We certainly can plant more trees, but even that's not passive- it requires someone to spend their time, or others to spend their money, growing seedlings and then planting them. But it requires even more than that: if you want trees to sequester carbon, you need to pay attention not only to planting them, but to how they're harvested and what is done with the wood. Contrary to popular imagination on the subject, a tree doesn't actually put much carbon into the soil- most of what a tree sequesters is in the form of its wood. So in a sense, building homes out of wood, then being careful about what we do with wood waste when it comes time to demolish a home, are other things we can do.

We can gradually improve energy efficiency standards- in vehicles, in building codes- we're doing that already, but we need to accelerate it.

And most importantly, we need fossil GHG emission taxes, so making an investment in avoiding fossil GHG emissions is worthwhile in dollars and cents. Otherwise we'd need to rely entirely on regulatory controls, or on the notion that people will make the right choice even when it's against their economic self-interest. Most people in the world pay lip service to environmental issues of any kind, and will pay at most a 5% premium for something which is "better for the environment"- half the time, that being marketing rather than a reality. 5% won't get us there, ever.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

If you want to know just how big a problem we have to solve, the very best place is STILL www.withouthotair.com The late David Mackay's online book hasn't been updated for some time (for obvious reasons) but his Fermi level estimates of what we use and how much we could produce, economics aside, for the UK, are very sobering.

Required reading for anyone who cares about this issue.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote (moltenmetal)

If you want to know just how big a problem we have to solve, the very best place is STILL www.withouthotair.com

He doesn't address the sunk carbon issue. If I buy an end of life car and recondition it what sort of order of magnitude is the break even mileage point verse the carbon emissions of a new car (even an electric car).
Noting the rapid increase in energy cost for higher performing materials.
Below appears to be a reasonable guide to energy consumption for engineering materials
https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/what-is-the-embodi...

One way forward is to realise that workable solutions are region specific, solar and electric cars offer much better return on carbon investment close to the equator than say Canada or Norway.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Embodied energy is a common hobgoblin of people who don't like change. They use the embodied energy of what is being replaced, or the extra embodied energy of an embedded replacement, to pretend that no change is necessary.

It certainly takes less energy to maintain a car than to make a new one. For cars with only marginal differences in energy efficiency, keeping the old car is more energy efficient. But if the car is already toast, replacing an ICE car with a battery EV recharged from a decent grid will generate significant NET savings in GHG emissions over the BEV's reasonably expected lifetime. Cars use far, far more energy throughout their use than they take to make and recycle at end of life. And yes, batteries have a high embodied energy- but that embodied energy is dropping as the price of batteries drops- for the same reason, i.e. manufacturers are getting better at making them- they're improving energy efficiency of their processes, reducing scrap rates and "thrifting" on energy- and cost-intensive materials by making substitutions.

I did the calcs on my own car that I converted to an EV. Over the reasonably expected lifetime of the batteries, using some very much worst-case figures for the embodied CO2 emissions and energy consumption used to make the batteries and assuming no recycling at end of life, the net savings expected were 55 tonnes of CO2 emissions versus the exact same car pre-conversion. The toxic tailpipe emissions were eliminated basically free of charge. That performance would be less dramatic on a less good grid- the local Ontario grid is amazing with only 40 g CO2/kWh.



RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote (molten metal)

I did the calcs on my own car that I converted to an EV. Over the reasonably expected lifetime of the batteries, using some very much worst-case figures for the embodied CO2 emissions and energy consumption used to make the batteries and assuming no recycling at end of life, the net savings expected were 55 tonnes of CO2 emissions versus the exact same car pre-conversion. The toxic tailpipe emissions were eliminated basically free of charge. That performance would be less dramatic on a less good grid- the local Ontario grid is amazing with only 40 g CO2/kWh.

Great post by the way. Personally, I think I'd go with a Hybrid right now over a fully electric car. Just for flexibility and range and such. But, I hear you.

Question for you about your calcs: You likely factored in carbon emissions due to electricity production. But, did you also factor in efficiency losses due to transmission and battery storage? Probably. Also, where do you live? I imagine the calculation is a bit different where I am (California) because so much of our power is Hydro and "clean". But, in places where they still get a lot of power from coal plants, I imagine the calculation would be greatly different.

I'm not a coal fan.... I really think moving away from coal should be our first priority for reducing CO2 emissions.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Josh,

Note the difference between (standard) Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid. Hybrid are "just" more efficient gas cars, Plug-In Hybrid have a small battery onboard (charged from the grid).

I'm not a fan of the "range extender" gas engine that some EVs have … run a gas engine to make electricity, to charge the battery …

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote:

run a gas engine to make electricity, to charge the battery

While undesirable, that evolution is ostensibly more efficient than the 3rd gen Prius where both battery and engine both drive propel the car, since the engine is running at its supposedly maximum efficiency rpms, as implied by its better mileage and lower emissions (82 gm/km vs. 111 gm/km)

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

JoshPlum: yes, my calcs factored in grid losses (about 6%, which is a North American average- my own local figure is 3%, which is provided to me on my electrical bill (we pay for transmission losses on our bill), and battery charge/discharge efficiency (about 90%). My converted EV achieved about 235 Wh/mile out of the battery and about 260 Wh/mile out of the wall plug, which means that the total of charger and battery charge/discharge losses were only about 10%. Those are measured values.

My own local Ontario grid beats California's grid- our grid is 40 g CO2/kWh and zero coal. Our power is primarily nuclear, hydro and wind with all the fossil fuel burned being natural gas.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Hybrids are generally done parallel rather than serial because that avoids unnecessary battery cycling and associated losses. However, range extended EVs can be done either as parallel or serial hybrid architecture. A full battery EV is better (more efficient) if you can tolerate the range and charge time for longer trips. A range extender is great if you occasionally do a long trip but most of your daily driving is short range.

Don't forget that gasoline has a long feed pipe- gasoline production is only about 81-83% feed energy efficient as estimated by the GREET model. Since some of that ~ 20% energy use in recovery, transport and refining is used as electricity, in GHG terms the loss is even higher than 20%.

I have two colleagues with Chevy Volts. They love the cars, and do almost all of their driving in EV mode. The only time they burn gasoline is on a very rare long trip, or when the engine control system tells them that the gas in their tank is getting old. Both have said that their next car will be a full battery EV. The engine in their case became an expensive, heavy security blanket.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Hope that waste incineration here in the Philippines will be allowed.

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

(OP)
Dear all: thanks for your contributions.
My reactions to selected posts follow. They only thing they are meant to provoke is further discussion.

Quote (btrueblood)

Agreed, and sometimes mitigations backfire - e.g. subsidence of land around New Orleans and increased risk of flooding due to years of flood control from upstream ACE dams and levees
You cannot wall off rising ocean levels – ask the Dutch, who completely revamped their barrier scheme mid-project to permit water to flow in and out instead of walling it off.
The US Army Corp of Engineers are the major cause of flooding disasters in the US (most of which are erroneously named ‘natural’ disasters).

Quote (JoshPlum)

folks are demanding that changes be limited to smaller, incremental steps only. Steps that will cause minimal disruption to their lives and to the economy.
Politicians need to tell us we can have our cake and eat it too. And we love hearing it.

Quote (IRstuff)

A side isn't really a side, it's a spectrum, as is the case of the opposite side.
The ‘sides’ to any issue are mostly media formulations.

Quote (rb1957)

yes, but politically corporations have better defenses than individuals.
The playing field is definitely tilted.

Quote (RVAmeche)

People already try to make that argument since the politicians won't rock the money boat with the corporations.
Even before corporations completed their hostile takeover of government, politicians were not the ones to ask.

Quote (rb1957)

Engineering mitigations would be …
improving the efficiency of our energy use,
improving the efficiency of energy production,
building sea walls (of ever increasing height ?)
building better storm shelters
developing food/crop generation from the warming oceans
These have mostly been tried.

Quote (rb1957)

And you'll be changing (not you'll be choosing to) your diet, away from meat, in part "because it's good for you".
Meat protein is 10x less land-efficient than plant protein.

Quote (LSPSCAT)

You can Google and do some quick research and I have attached one study of Southern CA emissions that saw a pretty good decrease in activity on weekends. (80% decrease in business activity / 35% Reduction in NOx)
Will that decrease the amount of potential farmland or wild habitat we are asphalting?

Quote (moltenmetal)

The answer is simple: it's too big a problem to be solved that way.
You’re starting to get it.

Quote (rb1957)

Note the difference between (standard) Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid. Hybrid are "just" more efficient gas cars, Plug-In Hybrid have a small battery onboard (charged from the grid).
No amount of EVs or hybrids can cancel out the very profitable diesel-powered monster pickup trucks that most carmakers continue making for urban guys wanting to make rugged fashion statements.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

Quote:

The ‘sides’ to any issue are mostly media formulations.

That's a very glib and mostly erroneous pronouncement. Extremists on both sides paint people in the middle with the opposite color to force those with weak wills passively support their extreme views. The silent majority, as always, remains silent.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Climate Change: Engineering Solutions?

(OP)
I respectfully disagree.
First there is the fact that national media in the US is concentrated in six corporations, making for a very narrow range of views with zero local content.
Second, we humans are very suggestible (how else would you explain the mass parroting of words like 'iconic' and 'tasked'?) and we have far less free agency of thought than we like to believe (and love to be told by advertisers). The media frames the terms of reference, predigesting everything for us in dumbed-down terms. What passes for political discourse in the US and Canada is mostly repetition of talking points and name-calling, like we would do at a sports event between the team in red and the team in blue.
I never want to say things are hopeless, I'm just saying we need to educate ourselves and form our own ideas. That takes extreme effort these days.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts."

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