Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heater Core Video

Here's the latest video - The Heater Core.

I planned to film myself talking about the process, but it was just so hot, I look physically ill on film, so I put together a quick slideshow instead.

Call it a homage to the Forkenswift boys!

Also, Phil Karn has some FABULOUS research on "the long tailpipe" issue. Many people seem to think that EV's are just as bad as petrol cars because of the emissions generated by electricity production. Well, Phil conclusively proves that even burning coal, phasing in the EVs will significantly reduce the emissions. With the rise in renewable energy in places like California and Texas, it's easy to see how EVs are a win for everyone (except OPEC).'s the research. Thank You Phil!

EV Emission Analysis
I discovered a wealth of energy and pollution info on various California state agency web sites, particularly CARB and CEC. So I computed my own figures for per-mile power plant emissions for EVs.

Gasoline/Diesel Emissions

From I see that the total taxable motor fuels (gasoline & diesel) sold in CA in 1996 was 15,791,759,000 gallons.
And from I see that the CA average fuel economy in 1993 (latest year available) was 17.7 miles/gallon.
17.7 mpg * 15,791,759,000 gallons = 279.5e9 miles driven per year. That's 765.8 million miles/day, a figure I wasn't able to find directly. From" we see that the total pollutants from all that gasoline burned and on-road miles driven are (1995 figures)

Pollutant: Tons/day - grams/mile
Total organic gases: 1,800 - 2.1323
Reactive organic gases: 1,600 - 1.895
Carbon monoxide: 15,000 - 17.77
Nitrogen oxides: 2,100 - 2.488
Sulfur oxides: 56 - 0.06634
Particulates: 80 - 0.09477
Particulates < 10 micron: 67 - 0.07937
("1 ton" = 2000 pounds, not 1000 kg)

Electric Generation Emissions
Now let's look at the situation for electricity. From I get an in-state annual electricity generation from all sources of 202,022 GW-hr, which works out to 553.44 GW-hr/day or an average of 23.06GW, which seems about right. From the emissions inventory page mentioned earlier, we can see that in 1995 in-state electric generation produced

Pollutant: Tons/day - grams/kW-hr
Total organic gases: 28 - 0.0459
Reactive organic gases: 6 - 0.009835
Carbon monoxide: 36 - 0.059
Nitrogen oxides: 69 - 0.1131
Sulfur oxides: 8 - 0.0131
Total particulates: 6 - 0.00983
Particulates < 10 microns: 5 - 0.00819

So if we use that electricity to charge EVs getting 4 miles/kW-hr, the electric generation emissions attributable to each EV mile driven would be

Pollutant: grams/mile - % of internal combustion
Total organic gases: 0.011475 - 0.5%
Reactive organic gases: 0.002459 - 0.13%
Carbon monoxide: 0.01475 - 0.083%
Nitrogen oxides: 0.028275 - 1.136%
Sulfur oxides: 0.003275 - 4.9%
Total particulates: 0.0024575 - 2.59%
Particulates < 10 microns: 0.0020475 - 2.578%

Obviously it depends on the specific pollutant, but this all is pretty consistent with the 97% reduction figure I've heard for some time (power plant emissions per EV mile being 97% less than the per-mile emissions for an average gasoline or diesel vehicle). And those emissions are at the power plants, not in downtown LA or SD or wherever the cars are.

• I wasn't able to find all my statistics from the same year.
• The electric generation figures are probably gross totals, so they don't include transmission losses (I think I've seen 20%).
• I assume the current electric generation mix would apply to large numbers of EVs. This may or may not be true, depending on how much capacity is available from which kinds of plants when the EVs are charged. If all of the miles driven in California could be electrically powered at 4 miles/kW-hr, that would work out to an average electrical load of about 8GW, which is about 35% of the average in-state electric generation of 23.06GW. About three and a half San Onofres (@2.2 GW each) would do it (just had to say it :-))
• Most of the petroleum fuels go to cars and trucks, but the total taxed fuel sales figures might include other users (aviation, trains); depending on how polluting these users are, and how much they use, it could affect the figures either way.
• My EV "mileage" of 4 miles/kW-hr, referenced to the AC socket, is for the EV1, and may be optimistic for larger EVs -- though given the number of cars you see on the freeway with exactly one occupant, it's clear that a lot of people could commute in the EV1.

Despite these caveats, it's pretty clear that EVs have the advantage when it comes to air pollution.

Phil Karn, January 1999

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