Tag: Emissions

Commuting Habits in U.S. States

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Daily solo commuters are some of the largest contributors to vehicle carbon emissions in the United States. Carpooling is a much better alternative for the environment, but unfortunately, this is not always possible in the fast-moving life of big cities. People have different work schedules and work far away from one another, so carpooling is not always easy. Fortunately, electric vehicles are rising in popularity, but only some US states are making the shift to electric in order to reduce their carbon footprints.

Today, gas-powered vehicles still account for up to 99% of car purchases, and electric vehicles are less accessible since they rely on charging stations that may not be in place. Electric vehicles are especially inconvenient for people who live in rural areas, perhaps miles from the nearest electric charging station. Carpooling in remote areas is not an easy option either, as people often live on acres of land far away from one another.

Unsurprisingly, U.S. states in which commuters typically drive to work alone are also the states with the fewest number of electric vehicles on the road. This is a lethal combination, leading to a substantial carbon footprint.

The experts at The Zebra have analyzed U.S. Census data to break down commuting habits state-by-state, along with overall electric vehicle adoption. They then combined these rankings into overall “eco-impact.”

As gas-powered cars make up over one-fifth of the U.S.’s total carbon dioxide emissions, people making small changes every day, such as carpooling with a coworker, can have major effects on our carbon footprint. One gallon of gas burned adds up to 24 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the air. This quickly adds up over time, just imagine how polluted the air must be during rush hour! The amount of carbon dioxide used on a commute depends on the length of the trip and the type of vehicle.

Some U.S. states are taking matters into their own hands in order to combat car pollution. For example, California has one of the largest carbon emissions in the U.S., but is putting new laws into effect to promote carpooling. They are also the nation’s leading adopter of electric vehicles.

Hawaii is the most eco-friendly state overall, with the highest number of electric vehicles and the highest rate of carpooling. This makes sense, as the island state is much smaller and people, therefore, live closer to both one another and their jobs.

Take a look at the infographic below for more findings:

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.

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.

Our Digital Carbon Footprint: A Cause for Concern

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The number of Internet users reaches record highs every year, but did you know that for every tweet, comment, email and google search, a small amount of CO2 is emitted? This is our digital carbon footprint. For one person, the numbers aren’t too impressive, but when you factor in every person on planet earth who’s using the internet, those small numbers suddenly look ginormous, and worrying.

What is Digital Carbon Footprint?

When you think of the destructive causes that contribute to the breakdown of the ozone layer, sitting behind a desk on your computer or flicking through your phone probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, thanks to the colossal number of data centres that are now needed to feed planet earth’s internet obsession, the online world is now beginning to damage the real world.

Here are some internet and social media stats per second and the resulting CO2 emitted.

Google Searches

In the modern world, Google is our gateway to any answer we’re looking for. As a result, there are over 60,000 searches made on Google every second. Combine that with the fact that the average search produces around 0.2g of CO2 and the quantity of emissions is quite remarkable.

Sending Emails

According to ‘internet live stats’, there are more than 2.5 million emails sent every second with a “everyday” email emitting 4g of CO2. That is quite astonishing. Especially when they also say that around 67% off all emails are spam. Anti-virus specialists, McAfee, say that this number is even higher, reporting that a remarkable 78% of all incoming emails are spam and that approximately 62 trillion spam messages are sent every year.

Facebook

Facebook’s growth is the perfect example of how things have escalated over the last 10 years or so when it comes to internet usage. According to their sustainability report, in 2004 one million people were using Facebook, fast forward to 2016 and you need to replace the word million with billion and then some.

Facebook say that their annual per-user carbon emissions is 299g of CO2, which is less than making 1 latte or boiling 1 pot of tea. This is quite an achievement, but when there are so many people using the site, it still adds up to a lot of emissions.

Twitter

Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter once stated that each tweet consumes around 90 joules, equalling 0.02g of CO2 emissions. Hardly anything right? Correct, however there are approximately 8,000 tweets written and published every single second.

YouTube

An article in the Guardian revealed that 1g of CO2 was emitted for every 10 minutes of YouTube watched or 0.0017g per second. That’s right, so the next time you’re up late at night watching funny cat videos, remember that those adorable, cute and cuddly fur balls mean you are contributing to the breakdown of the ozone layer.

Google’s Strive For Carbon Neutrality

10 years ago, Google vowed to be carbon neutral by 2017, a goal which they’ve met. In 2016 Google’s gross greenhouse gas emissions were 2.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), but thanks to $2.5 billion of investment into solar and wind projects, carbon offset programs and renewable energy, their net operational carbon emissions are now zero.

 

Environmental Impacts of MSW Incineration

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Incineration-based processes for municipal solid waste (MSW) treatment are a subject of intense environmental debate around the world. In the absence of effective controls, harmful pollutants from MSW incineration plants may be emitted into the air, land and water which may be detrimental to public health and the environment. Thus, it is essential to have strict controls to prevent negative impacts of waste-to-energy plants, especially incineration.

What is MSW Incineration?

Incineration is the controlled combustion of waste with the recovery of heat to produce steam that in turn produces power through steam turbines and any other CHP system. Incineration is the predominant technology for MSW-to-energy plants, which involves burning the trash at high temperatures. Similarly to how some facilities use coal or natural gas as fuel sources, power plants can also burn MSW as fuel to heat water, which creates steam, turns a turbine and produces electricity.

A modern air pollution control system is essential for all MSW incineration facilities.

The most common type of incineration plant is called a mass-burn facility and the most common incineration technology is moving grate system. These units burn the trash in one large chamber. The facility might sort the MSW before sending it to the combustion chamber to remove non-combustible materials and recyclables. Mass-burn systems use excess air to facilitate mixing, and ensure air gets to all the waste. Many of these units also burn the fuel on a sloped, moving grate to mix the waste even further. These steps are vital because solid waste is inconsistent, and its content varies.

Environmental Issues

The incineration process produces two types of ash. Bottom ash comes from the furnace and is mixed with slag, while fly ash comes from the stack and contains components that are more hazardous. In municipal waste incinerators, bottom ash is approximately 10% by volume and approximately 20 to 35% by weight of the solid waste input. Fly ash quantities are much lower, generally only a few percent of input.

Emissions from incinerators can include heavy metals, dioxins and furans, which may be present in the waste gases, water or ash. Plastic and metals are the major source of the calorific value of the waste. The combustion of plastics, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gives rise to these highly toxic pollutants.

Toxics are created at various stages of such thermal technologies, and not only at the end of the stack. These can be created during the process, in the stack pipes, as residues in ash, scrubber water and filters, and in fact even in air plumes which leave the stack. There are no safe ways of avoiding their production or destroying them, and at best they can be trapped at extreme cost in sophisticated filters or in the ash. The ultimate release is unavoidable, and if trapped in ash or filters, these become hazardous wastes themselves.

The pollutants which are created, even if trapped, reside in filters and ash, which need special landfills for disposal. In case of energy recovery, it requires heat exchangers which operate at temperatures which maximize dioxin production. If the gases are quenched, it goes against energy recovery.

Such projects disperse incinerator ash throughout the environment which may enter our food chain and cause havoc with human health as well as other ecosystems. These facts make it essential for every incineration-based waste-to-energy plant to have a modern air pollution control system which may trap all harmful pollutants from going into the atmosphere, which may help in public acceptability of waste-to-energy plants.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

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