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Hybrid cars emit more carbon? Options
John Edward Mercier
#1 Posted : Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:26:09 AM
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Their numbers are valid, but yours aren't.

Barring rare defects or accidents the hybrid batteries will last the lifetime of the vehicle.

ChuckMI
#2 Posted : Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:30:04 PM
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John,
My 4-5 year lifetime of rechargable NiCad and Lithium batteries is based on my experience of consumer grade batteries (AA and AAA mostly) which I have been using since 1987. Can you explain why the life of a rechargable car batt. would be any different?

Current car batteries in gas powered cars are also rechargable, they are recharged when the car is running. And they usually need to be replaced every 5-6 years. (My experience with cars goes back to 1985 so I'm not new to this.)

Also, people who use heavy-duty batteries in their solar (PV) or wind powered systems also report the same thing (via other internet forums). Those batteries also must be replaced every 4-5 years, and they must all be replaced at the same time, often resulting in a $2000-3000 expenditure.

davisonh
#3 Posted : Friday, January 30, 2009 1:20:48 AM
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Oh boy,this issue again.A couple of years ago I had a good discussion with Majere(god bless him,he has passed recently)about batteries and he and I(he  made batteries of all types and sizes for exactly what you describe,hydroelectric systems wind/solar systems and combinations of both for over 40 years or so)came to the same conclusion about batteries.We came to the conclusion that the most common cause of battery failure,becaue he and I also thought that 4-5 year life was very premature,was because of the quality of the direct current used to recharge the batteries.All automotive batteries are designed for heavy current draw for a short time and very small continuous draw.This action tends to literally blow holes in the lead plates while drawing heavy current.The charging action,if not a continuous waveform of less than 1/4 volt differential either positive or negative will also blow holes in the plates.Any deviation from that will tend to prematurely trash batteries,this is also why batteries made years ago lasted so much longer.Years ago most charging systems consisted of a DC generator,not an AC alternator.A DC generator consists of a device on its shaft called a commutator which beaks the AC waveform into a much finer DC waveform than an AC alternator with a rectifier setup does.In laymans' terms what I am saying is if you don't have a clean DC supply ,your batteries will trash themselves within 4-5 years.Now,how to fix this issue,easy fix.Capacitors,one or two in parallel with the + (or the + alternator terminal on your car  15 volt 35 microfarad should be good)and the metal frame of your car will solve the issue.Doesn't matter what type of battery,none are any good if the DC supply current is what we call 'choppy'.This was done by automakers back in the 50s and 60s to cut the cost of the charging systems for automobiles and to make planned obslescence of batteries a reality.It is also done on Alt. energy systems where the dc from cells goes thru a charge controller that tends to be 'wavy' not necc. choppy.You will see a rectifier in your alternator but no capacitors to be found.Hook up any oscilloscope to the charging terminal of a car alternator and you'll see literally what I'm talking about,incredible.I had to replace a $400 deep cycle battery where I work because  of this.I replaced the charging panel as well in the lift because the rectifier was supplying 'choppy' dc to the battery.It lasted only three years.A rechargeable battery(able to be a hybrid as well as able to be plugged into your house)that has properly sized 'filter capacitors' should get a battery to last nearly 10 years or sometimes more.As far as batt. replacement,in the same time ratio to a gasoline car,how many timing belts,blown alternators,brakes,bad sensors,blown water pumps,mufflers and whatever else that could go wrong would add up to $3000 or more?All of the above do not exist on an electric vehicle.An electric/hybrid(some do this)regeneratively brake,in other words use the driving motor momentarily as a generator to stop the vehicle.It takes an hour or so to replace a worn battery bank and replace brushes.Really no mechanic(other than the small gas engine)needed,more like an electrician instead.As far as carbon dioxide goes,it all depends on where you get your power from.A hummer emits a 'lot' more carbon  dioxide to make and run than a hybrid,just the mass ratio alone would dictate that.Reciprocating gasoline engines will always be only 12-15% efficient in fuel supplied to energy output.In other words 88% of the energy thats in the gasoline your pouring into your car is wasted as heat into the atmosphere.Only 12% of the energy in your gas is actually getting you down the road!They will never be any better than that because of the inherent design of the reciprocating machine of any fuel type,even steam and air compressors.Electrical motors deliver 80-90% of energy supplied to the mechanical load being driven.They can be driven over their rated horsepower for limited times,whereas engines cannot.Lead plates for batteries take a lot less heat to mold(melting point of lead is 900 degrees,steels' over 3,000!)More batteries made,down comes the cost.I wish people would'nt say 'carbon' when they mean carbon dioxide,carbons' a solid granular elemental material.Same thing about 'sodium' when people mean 'salt' which is sodium chloride,not sodium the element.Sodium is so dangerous,touching it will burn you and it explodes and burns in water.So,hope that helps explain a few things...
John Edward Mercier
#4 Posted : Friday, January 30, 2009 8:05:07 PM
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First a Hybrid is not all electric...

But for the most part the Hummer creates a smaller carbon footprint because of the manufacturing and life expectancy. When the computation of a new Hummer vs. a new Prius is done... the Prius simply can't save enough carbon when driven the average number of miles per year.

If you drove well above average miles annually... then the Prius might muster a win. The only other options are to extend the Prius's life expectancy or mitigate some of the carbon produced during manufacturing.

 

 

MichaelK
#5 Posted : Thursday, February 05, 2009 11:15:03 PM
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Yes, this is a silly statement as JEM points out.

 "As far as batt. replacement,in the same time ratio to a gasoline car,how many timing belts,blown alternators,brakes,bad sensors,blown water pumps,mufflers and whatever else that could go wrong would add up to $3000 or more?All of the above do not exist on an electric vehicle".

Since a hybrid HAS a gasoline engine to power the batteries all the problems associated with gasoline engines, like timing belts, bad sensors, blown water pumps, and mufflers all still apply to hybrids.  Since hybrids have not yet been on the road for 10 years yet, it is little more than guesswork that their batteries can actually last that long.  Maybe they can, but only time will tell.

Unfortunately, the public has been lead to believe that hybrids are in fact the holy grail of fuel conservation.  In reality, they are only marginally better at fuel consumption than conventional cars.  I should add that the hybrid is really a niche vehicle that is at it's best only in stop and go city traffic.  On open road highway driving, a conventionly powered car of the same weight willl be more efficient with a straight ICE powertrain.

I would like to point out a third alternative to both gasoline and hybrid cars and that is vehicles powered by clean-diesel technology.  Several automakers are finally selling diesel cars that are 50 state compliant, meaning they meet the same pollution standards as clean gasoline cars.  Couple that with the fact they can be run on renewable biodiesel (even cleaner) and you have a vehicle that can out-compete hybrids.  You can go out and get the hybrid, but I'm putting my money into clean diesel, and that's the next vehicle I'm planning on buying.

Michael

davisonh
#6 Posted : Saturday, February 07, 2009 1:27:07 AM
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 I'll have to agree with Michael on this,the reciprocating diesel engine is much more efficient in fuel/energy ratio than gasoline,almost to 35% and I'm sure that's been increased with new technologies being developed.Diesel engines operates by putting No. 2 fuel oil under high compression(or any other oil with No. 2's viscosity and flashpoint.)on the intakestroke of the engine and  subsequently ignites the fuel air mix.No spark plugs.Most military Hummers are diesels.A couple of problems with diesels and WVO engines(same thing) is the fuel(either bio or petro)has to be 'cut' with a higher viscosity fuel during winter months because the fuels 'gel up' in cold weather which is the purpose of glow plugs and kerosene being added to diesel fuel.Other than these problems diesels are going to be the way to go in the future.
John Edward Mercier
#7 Posted : Saturday, February 07, 2009 10:42:22 AM
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I didn't mean to put the hybrids down... just an engineering problem gone wrong.

Hybrids for the most part derived their technology from diesel-electric trains. This works wells for heavy mass transport, but the redundancy of drive trains when trying to reduce mass is not a great strategy.

Its doubtful to see fully electric cars/trucks take off in the market due to two engineering factors... limited range electrical vehicles and limited electrical grid transmission capacity.

LaserBillA
#8 Posted : Sunday, February 08, 2009 12:55:45 AM
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I've given up on carbon emissions. What we really need is carbon capture and "enhanced oil recovery"

It's a win-win
 A 30$/ton carbon tax phased in over 5 years would provide the money and the captured Co2 would increase oil recovery.

On the other hand it would add ~$0.30 per gallon of gas

-
As for Hybrids... I see them as a stepping stone, but in order to get where we need to go we need to get some laws changed.

1. I can't use off peak electric power to charge batterys. The power company rules say the off peak power can ONLY be used for electric heat.

2. You can't upgrade an existing car without violating EPA rules. This is true even if the upgrade reduced emissions. This prevents most company's from getting into the upgrade market.

-
I drive a 1986 jetta diesel. and it uses lots of carbon...
95% of my driving is at highway speeds, however the road released co2 when it was made, I have to change oil, I have to burn diesel, and then there is all the other things that release C02.

There was also a study that showed that the CO2 from concrete makes cars better than public rail due to all the concrete used.
John Edward Mercier
#9 Posted : Sunday, February 08, 2009 5:58:37 PM
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Must be something to do with your area...

Our electric company doesn't have off-peak rates, etc.

Autos are modified continuously... though most not to reduce fuel consumption or emissions.

And NH doesn't use concrete in its railroads. Gravel, steel, and wood...

We do have several roadways where the concrete is laid below the asphalt to keep the base stable.

 

Pat Miketinac
#10 Posted : Monday, March 23, 2009 4:27:58 AM
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Maybe hybrids could use a different source of electricity. Since gas engines lose up to 80% of their energy to heat loss, I wonder if exhaust could be used to run a steam powered generator. There must be some way to use all that heat for "locomotion". Maybe thermocouples could be developed to produce usable power directly from the heat. Anything that improves efficiency should reduce emissions.

John Edward Mercier
#11 Posted : Monday, March 23, 2009 3:24:36 PM
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The underlying reason the hybrid does not compete well with the Hummer is simply a matter of new metal mining for the batteries and life-cycle of the vehicle.

The new metal mining will work itself out as more comes into the market and gets recycled... while the vehicle life-cycle is about engineering. Many truck-based vehicles are rebuilt with new pieces being added to extend the life-cycle... while most car-based vehicles are sent to the scrap heap for recycling.

 

davisonh
#12 Posted : Saturday, March 28, 2009 2:37:28 AM
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I know it's a longshot but has anyone looked at using producer gas(possibly compressed) as a fuel source?Simply said producer gas is woodsmoke or any other organic material smoke thats filtered/cooled to use as fuel.A standard engine produces 65-70% of the power it would on gasoline that it does on producer gas.The fuel/power ratio is almost exactly the same as diesel fuel amazingly enough.There's also methane also from landfills and sewage treatment plants.This could be compressed and used too.Any thoughts?

John Edward Mercier
#13 Posted : Saturday, March 28, 2009 7:06:32 PM
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Methanol?

Honda has a Civic that runs on Compressed Natural Gas.

 

ChuckMI
#14 Posted : Saturday, March 28, 2009 7:06:32 PM
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I started to think about some articles I read about hybrid cars. In Wired Magazine (Dec 200 an author stated that you could drive a Hummer 100,000 miles or simply buy a hybrid car and drive it home, and both would emit the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere. It had to do with the amount of energy consumed to make the batteries in the hybrid. Apparently it takes obscene amounts of energy (and carbon which goes into the air) to smelt metal, but especially the metal that goes into batteries (lead, cadmium, etc).

Consumer Reports (Jan 2008?) did an indepth analysis of hybrid cars also. The verdict: they cost about 15% more over 5 years, than a gasoline car. For one thing, the cost of insurance was a bit higher! You must also take into account that you must get a new battery system every 4 years at the cost of $6000+!! (I talked to a dealer myself about this in 2001, so the price is probably higher now. $6000 is part and labor.) While you may save gas, you are not saving money or preventing carbon from going into the atmosphere. In fact, it seems hybrid cars would make the carbon situation worse. The pundits are only taking into account the gasoline burned while using the car, and not the energy used to create the hybrid car.

I invite more people to comment on these ideas, as I would like more info on exactly how much carbon is spewed into the air to make a hybrid car (plus its batteries) vs. making a regular car. Were the authors above correct? Are their assumptions based on valid numbers?

Thank you.

Chuck in Michigan

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