Category: Automobiles

Sustainable Motorways: Driving Our Future

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Smart motorways are enhanced stretches of motorways which include dynamic hard shoulders, fluctuating speed limits, monitoring sensors, and cameras. Britain, for example is one of the leading innovators when it comes to road management, with their system known as active traffic management. Even though the UK and a few other countries are implementing advancements to their roads, there is still room for  improvement with technologies such as drones, smart LED road studs, eco-friendly lighting and built-in sensors.

But in today’s world is smart is enough. We need our motorways to be sustainable and support our ever more sustainable cars, to help restore our planet.

Sustainable Motorways

Solar roadways seem to be a match made in heaven for electric vehicles. Substituting standard tarmac roads with extra durable solar panels is the main idea behind this technology. The panels, that would act like screens, displaying road signs, warning about lane closures, would also harvest solar energy. This captured energy would then be used to power both road signs and in-car items.

Another way to make roads sustainable is to build more “electric”roads. These  motorways, for example, would be equipped with an inductive charging system, such as in a phone charger. Thanks to the wireless charging technology that would be installed below the surface, they would create an electromagnetic field, which would be then transferred to receivers, directly powering running vehicles.

Some charging panels placed at bus depots in Milton Keynes are an example of this technology as they power electric buses overnight. Similar projects are considered for parking lots – if used on a larger scale, this would significantly reduce carbon emissions in our environment.

Making motorway maintenance more sustainable is key to lowering the need for manual labor, financing and being more eco-friendly in general. Researchers at Cambridge, Bath and Cardiff Universities may have found a solution in the form of  ‘self-healing concrete’. It is a concrete blend with added bacteria which produces limestone. When moisture enters a slit in the concrete it seals the crack before it gets the chance to widen.

Unfortunately, most of these ideas are being criticised and only a few are being currently implemented. Hopefully more and more of these, and other technologies them will actually happen in the future. As for now, we can only try to reduce our carbon footprint by changing our means of transport to a more sustainable one, be it an EV, public transport or a bike.

Image source: https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/motorways-in-europe-and-the-uk

7 Negative Effects of A Used Car On The Environment

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Despite the fact that used cars are pocket-friendly and easy to buy, they leave bad imprints on the environment in one way or the other. If you are unaware of them, please check these 7 negative effects of a used car on the environment.

1. Destruction of natural resources

Natural resources are the gifts of nature, which we should care about. Despite being the most brainy creature on this planet, we share the maximum part in the destruction of the natural resources available on earth. While producing cars and other automobiles, it uses a large amount of steel, iron, plastics, rubber and other materials. Similar, most of such products are created to make the car look dashing. Even the production processes also consume a great portion of energy which directly or indirectly affects the environment.

Most of the major players are changing their manufacturing strategies with new cars, but an option of a used car is still available which implants a significant effect on the surrounding environment.

2. Global warming

Either it’s a brand new car or any used car, they both run by consuming fuel and energy. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are the major constituents in the exhausts released by the cars. The new cars are made up of better engines in accordance to the latest norms of pollution controls. On another hand, used cars are responsible to release more carbon contents as they are made up with the earlier technologies.

Basically, the engines get worn up with time and they are unable to burn the fuel in the required ratio. This inability leads to the yield of carbon monoxide which harms the ozone layer leading to global warming.

3. Air, soil and water

Car pollutants create a bad impact of the natural resources like air, water, and soil. It depletes the quality of these resources very badly. Pollutants, like nitrous oxide, harms the ozone layer, which is essential and protects from the ultraviolet radiations from the sun.

Other pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide when mixed with rainwater, leads to acid rains. Acid rains badly damage the crop quality, forests, plantation, other vegetation, and buildings. Engine oils, brake oils, and other such lubricants are thrown on the soil or in water resources like river, sea, lakes which contaminates the water and also leads to the death of the water animals.

4. Affecting human health

Human health is badly affected by the used car emitted particles, like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other car pollutants which are considered bad. The diesel engines are responsible for emitting a high level of pollutants which act as airborne particles like soot and metals.

These particles generally cause irritation and allergies to skin and eyes. Even fine particles are often inhaled by the people which lead to respiratory problems affecting the lungs. Ozone is beneficial for the upper layer in the atmosphere but when one inhales it, it causes problems like chest pains, cough and is very difficult to breathe in. Even the noise produced by the cars causes noise pollution which is bad for the ears as well and often leads to physiological problems.

5. Used car produce more carbon content

Every product produced comes with an expiry date and using it beyond this time can be very harmful in for the user. Similar way, cars to have a working age, in which they perform their best with creating minor effects on the environment. Manufacturers have to produce cars with respect to the pollution norms and by conducting tests, they deduce the working life of the car.

Used cars have a detrimental impact on the environment and public health

Relying on used cars can affect the environment badly as they release major harmful pollutants. These pollutants have different effects on the surroundings which are not good for the humans and the surrounding environments.

6. Toxic battery acids

The car batteries are made up of toxic materials like nickel and they are responsible to produce fumes of harmful gases as well. Most of the car users forget the timely replacement of these batteries and some indulge in burning the used batteries. On burning these batteries emits toxic fumes which can cause respiratory problems and affect the lungs.

Leaking batteries too are dangerous when the electrolyte comes in contact with the body. It badly damages the skin, eyes and other parts of the body.

7. Consume more fuel

Fuel is the major source which drives the vehicle. Cars provide mileage with respect to their engine properties and consume fuel to give better performance. The way one drives a car plays an important factor in the fuel consumption but in the case of used cars, they generally consume more fuel than the latest versions of hybrid cars.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cars are an essential mode of transportation and they really help a lot in reducing a major part of human efforts. But in one or the other way, cars have a major impact on the surrounding environment. In this post, you can check some negative effect of a used car on the environment.

Biomethane: Promise and Potential

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Biomethane can drive sustainable development in many parts of the world due to its attractive properties as a clean fuel. The carbon footprint of biomethane is one of the smallest among the known energy sources. The emission factor of conventional diesel (around 90 gCO2eq/MJ) is almost 200 percent (or thrice) more than that of biomethane (30 gCO2eq/MJ). Biomethane is less corrosive, has higher calorific value and easier to handle than biogas. Biomethane, either liquified or compressed, can be transported relatively easily and can be stored for a long period of time which is not possible in case of biogas.

Ease in storage and transportation

Liquid biomethane (LBM) is transported in the same manner as LNG, that is, via insulated tanker trucks designed for transportation of cryogenic liquids. Biomethane can be stored as compressed biomethane (CBM) to save space. The gas is stored in steel cylinders such as those typically used for storage of other commercial gases.

Rapid growth of biomethane industry

The global biogas industry is growing at a rapid rate of around 10 percent annum, mainly driven by increasing traction in industrial waste-derived biogas sector and public acceptance of biogas as a clean fuel. Biomethane is witnessing increasing demand worldwide, especially in European countries, as it is one of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives to diesel for heavy good vehicles (HGVs).

Suitability of biomethane

Biomethane is most suitable for vehicles having engines that are based on natural gas (CNG or LNG). Once biogas is cleaned and upgraded to biomethane, it is (chemically) virtually the same as natural gas. Because biomethane has a lower energy density than natural gas, due to the high CO2 content, in some circumstances, changes to natural gas-based vehicle’s fuel injection system are required to use the biomethane effectively.

Turning Household Waste into Clean Fuel

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As more and more governments and businesses are racing to find efficient and reliable solutions for providing energy, the one option that is both widely achievable on a house-by-house basis, as well as tackling two major environmental issues is turning household waste into fuel.

We know there are already many organisations that are doing this on a large scale, collecting household waste from large areas and turning it into energy in Waste to Energy plants. However, arguably a better way to benefit from this is to produce energy on a household basis. In this article we explore some of the reasons why this is a good idea and how we can practically turn our own waste at home into energy.

Reduce Waste Transportation & Limit Landfill Use

Let’s take for example the UK, where they throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink waste as a population every year. Every bit of this waste is collected by local council services and transported some distance, eventually disposed of at landfill sites across the country.

The impact on the environment is twofold in this case. Firstly, the heavy duty vehicles required to collect the household waste are less than environmentally friendly. On the surface this may seem like a minor point, however when you consider how heavy these vehicles are, how slowly they move and how long they spend idling, they contribute a large amount to traffic pollution.

In fact, recent figures show that the average efficiency of these vehicles is around 4.4 mpg. Transportation of waste obviously remains an issue even where commercial Waste to Energy plants are concerned, but can be remedied by turning waste to fuel at home.

The second and arguably more obvious impact of the traditional waste disposal process is that it requires a vast amount of land. Quite simply, by using home waste to generate energy we are able to limit the amount of rubbish currently going to landfill sites.

Anaerobic Digestion

Up until now it has been technically difficult to create usable gas from household waste such as food leftovers. However, recent developments have made it easier than ever to produce energy from these wasted items. This has been made possible by a start-up that has created a user-friendly unit that can be used to collect left over food waste and turn it into biogas using the anaerobic digestion process. This biogas can then be used directly in the connected house for cooking, heating and even lighting.

For those with the ambition and technical experience, it is possible to produce biofuels and build your own biogas generator at home. Practically this is much easier in a tropical climate where the environment makes perfect conditions for the production of biogas from a wide variety of organic wastes. However, with the right equipment and insulation it is possible to do this in other climates.

Car Fuel from Household Waste

We are going to see a continuing rise in fuel prices across the globe. This fact is seeing a trend for eco car manufacturers to develop alternatives for traditional fuels, ranging from solar power through to electric. One alternative is fuelling your car on used vegetable oil. Practically, most diesel cars can be run off used vegetable oil with some minor alterations. This can be done by a specialist, but equally can be also achieved at home by those mechanically-inclined with specialist kits.

Arguably this may not be the most environmentally friendly option for fuelling cars as burning the oil for energy is comparable to diesel in terms of emissions. However, vegetable oil based fuels are carbon neutral due to absorbed carbon during the plants growing process. Also, when we consider the global issues with waste management, running our cars on vegetable oil is a smart solution.

Using household waste may not be as negative for the environment as media often paints it out to be. By limiting landfill and the harmful emissions generated during the waste disposal process we are able to create environmental benefits. We have also explored some of the practical ways you can use home waste to generate fuel for use in your home and for your car.

Citroen C4 – A Conventional Hatchback

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Conventional hatchbacks are still very much in demand and Citroen C4 is one of them. Five-door hatch pose challenge to leaders of the class and being of the same size it has definite edge over the others as available at less price. Furthermore you get a range of petrol and diesel engines that emit least carbon dioxide and are fuel efficient too. There are models that ensure under 100g/km emissions and it is equally good for private and company buyers. Apart from lowest of the range all engines have reasonable power and once again the swiftest is diesel that produces 148bhp. It is not as powerful as rival variants are but still offering good pull for this size of car.

Price of the Citroen C4 is a major appeal, in addition to fuel-efficient engine

The best thing about this vehicle is its low price and it is hard to resist or ignore. But you also have to compromise on many key features. Rear seat passengers need more knee space and drab dashboard should be somewhat appealing. Ride is comfortable but it springs quite easily so much body roll is there even when not cornering.

This car is master of smooth tracks

If you compare it with leading cars of the segment then you will find it devoid of competitiveness. While experiencing a drive, comfort would strike out and it is true at least on short distances. Suspension engineers of the car deserve admiration for this. On sharp edges, potholes and joints it would jolts the occupants so it is more an automobile of perfect smooth roads.

Three cylinders turbocharged petrol 1.2 liter Citroen C4 engine produces 128bhp that is quite reasonable. It is ready to perform though you have to push it hard at times. Refinement is also an issue as vibration enters the cabin and quite embarrassing. At high speed things become quite pleasing.

Good boot space is good and ample legroom

For sake of low running cost you must think of options with little power. Blue-HDI 120 is a good choice because of adequate pull and excellent running cost. The base level models are not recommended if you have to travel many miles a day. For passengers space is the foremost priority and for front row occupants there is plenty of it but second row riders do not have this luxury.

Boot space is quite good and you can take big size things like large baby buggy. Split folding of seats at back further enhances boot space. Headroom is no problem whether you are sitting on front or occupied rear seats.

Infotainment system and navigation

Steering wheel can be adjusted in height and reach so that nothing restricts you to achieve ideal driving position. Seats can also be raised or lowered. There is some area of soft plastic and chrome trims inside cabin that are to provide it a rather appealing look.

Infotainment touch screen system is also there though its quality may not match to most modern technologies. Position of screen is good and navigation on it is also simple and you can complain of other features of it.

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Salman Zafar