Hybrids, solar, compressed air, fuel cells... really "green"????

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by give me vtec, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    Somebody posted a thread about an air compressor that sparked a thought and I would like to get somebody else's opinion on. Since my wife doesn't like to talk about these kinds of thing I would like to bring the conversation here. I dont want this thread to become political... more of a technical discussion.

    I was thinking about all these "green" innovations to come out in the last few years that have become vogue... hybrids, fuel cells, electric lawn mowers, solar panels, wind turbines, compressed air cars, etc. How green are they really?

    Take for example... there is a company that sells compressed air cars.

    http://www.mdi.lu/english/

    ... are they really more "green". How much energy does it take to compress the air? Is the energy "clean energy" (if that even exists)... or is it conventional coal energy? I'm not a physicist but isn't there a law out there that says that energy is never lost... only transferred to friction and heat. My point is that it takes a certain amount of energy to move a mass a given distance... correct??? Wouldn't it require a similar amount of energy from the electrical outlet to compress the gas as it would from the gasoline??? I know a ton of energy is lost in an internal combustion engine to heat... but how much energy is lost on the way to your house through the grid? I guess it then becomes a question of where the energy comes from in reference to coal, nuclear, wind etc. Is there really a "green energy" solution to our problems? Electric cars are even worse... right now PG&E is scrambling to meet the additional requirements that the estimated 30,000 new electric cars sold next year will require. At a time when they are running ads to promote "energy conservation" and conducting "rolling blackouts" is this really the answer??? Even with wind turbines and solar panels there are a ton of toxic chemicals used as lubricants and batteries. Even "hybrid" cars... you have to replace the batteries every 3 or 4 years (at a cost of about $4000)... Do we have a program to recycle the lead and lithium?? With current technology hydrogen cannot be produced without loosing energy thus creating a bigger "carbon footprint" than gasoline.... making fuel cell vehicles almost impossible (why else do you not see them mass produced yet). Companies like BP are scaling back investments in alternative energy because there is no profit involved, only loss. In fact without government incentives and intervention the "clean energy" movement would be dead.

    Are we chasing a white elephant here?? Is this really about saving the environment... because if you think about it logically all of these things being developed to "save us" may actually be worse than what they are replacing. The ford focus puts out like 99% fewer emissions than any car built in the 60's and 70's... can we consider the job done. Or do we really need to invest trillions in borrowed money to create these "green" technologies?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009

  2. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    One short comment- That compressed air car is from France where they have a large percentage of clean and efficient nuclear power to make their electricity.
     
  3. give me vtec

    give me vtec Active Member

    yes I agree... with today's technology nuclear power is a (good/clean/relatively safe) source of energy. However they shut down the project out in Nevada to store all of our burnt fuel... where and how are we going to store this stuff long term? If they could get it together enough to transport and store all this stuff in one secure/safe location I would be for it... but they don't. This stuff is stored hap-hazardly all over the country to the point that it can barely be tracked properly. Not to mention cost of storing and monitoring this stuff all at hundreds of different locations.

    See what I mean... there is always a drawback to every energy, there is no "clean energy". There is a toxic byproduct or drawback for all of them. I am not saying we don't need them... I am just saying should we devote so much money and resources to develop all this stuff? Is it really going to save us... or are we going to go broke fixing a problem that either doesn't need to or can't be fixed?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
  4. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    The only way for humans to truly be "green" is for us to go out to pasture, dig our own holes and suicide in them. 6 billion humans make for a lot of natural fertilizer :)

    I think humans need to focus on making quality products that require as little energy as possible to manufacture and operate. I think we burn a lot more fuel MAKING new stuff to replace things that were built and engineered to be disposable than the products use themselves. Take for example the fact that most cars are in the scrap heap within 10 years. What a **** waste.
     
  5. Parah_Salin

    Parah_Salin Member

    I'd agree with you on that one. The fact is that most of any car is very durable and rugged. Old engines can be retrofitted or replaced. It's just no one wants an old car, and with all those shiny lease agreements people are all to happy to get a new car every time they fart.

    Now personally, as far as the "green" technologies go, there is alot out there, some of it works, some dosn't. Howver, I think just making vehicles smaller, simpler, and lighter (and cheaper) is the best option. It's just the fact that everybody here drives cars and SUVs that causes them to continue like that, because most people want a big car or truck for safety, because everyone else is big.

    The idea of getting a smaller car is VERY scary to people, and so very small cars (like the smart car) have to build in some ridiculous super heavy roll cage that makes the thing act like a brick during a colision- there is no reason a smart should weigh 1800 lbs.

    And motorcycles- Jesus. People are so scared of those, and in the US, I think they are right. See, the safety gear available can protect you from death and serious injury in a crash at ridiculous speeds- moto GP racers will fall off their bike at 100+ mph, skid and tumble along the ground while thier bike flys off into a ball of fire, and then they pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and start crying because thier bike got destroyed.

    But the safety gear doesn't do much to prevent you getting hit by a car. Now if you look at Vietnam, where everyone rides motorcycles (and smaller ones, 50-250cc) the danger is much reduced- traffic flows much better, and the danger of getting hit by another bike is much less than the danger of getting hit by a car.
     
  6. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Guys like me are bad for the auto industry because my newest car is a 2001. The oldest daily driven car is a 1994. (I own a 1987 "collectible" car) I usually run them well over 200K miles before I get rid of them. My TV is 18 years old. My stereo receiver is 45 years old. (but it does take a lot of juice to run it!)

    Being "green" means different things to different people.

    I always recycle. My county has a very successful recycling program, and I don't mind the small extra hassle of separating out the trash to reduce what's going into a landfill.

    I think a lot of people buy a hybrid just to make themselves feel better. I laugh whenever I get passed by a hybrid doing 20mph over the posted limit on the highway. AlGore would be proud!