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Re: Gas or Electric

Maybe we can use burning hydrogen to mow lawns. Or collect methane from the
horses to do the same...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Stoughton" <pstough@jaeoregon.com>
To: "Minicucci, Bob" <rminicucci@des.state.nh.us>;
<ryoder@mail.unomaha.edu>; <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2002 11:48 AM
Subject: RE: Gas or Electric

> Bob Minicucci wrote:
> Additionally, I think the image of the burning Hindenburg is an issue that
> needs to be considered if we want to build general public acceptance of
> hydrogen as a fuel.
> Believe it or not, there have been great strides made in the art of
> and storing hydrogen (in both states, liquid and vapor) since the
> exploded.
> Paul E. Stoughton
> Project Design Engineer
> JAE Oregon, Inc.
> 11555 SW Leveton Dr.
> Tualatin, OR  97062
> (503) 692-1333 X 215
> <mailto:pstough@jaeoregon.com>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Minicucci, Bob [mailto:rminicucci@des.state.nh.us]
> Sent: Friday, January 11, 2002 5:20 AM
> To: 'ryoder@mail.unomaha.edu'; p2tech@great-lakes.net
> Subject: RE: Gas or Electric
> At which point we must consider the manure management issue for the 1500
> miniature horses required a 2000 home subdivision placed on 500 acres of
> land.  The solution to this & the related sub-problems of stallion
> management are left for the student...
> No one in this discussion has mentioned the issue of why one maintains
> 'lawn' space.  For me, I maintain around 1 acre close-mowed (in addition
> about an acre meadow & the gardens), which is used for me & the kids
> around playing ball, shooting the fris, sledding, etc.  Many of these
> alternative ground cover suggestions cover the visual aspects of 'lawn',
> it's hard to hit grounders on a rock garden ;)
> Additionally, I think the image of the burning Hindenburg is an issue that
> needs to be considered if we want to build general public acceptance of
> hydrogen as a fuel.
> Bob Minicucci
> 603-271-2941
> Illegitimati non carborundum
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ryoder@mail.unomaha.edu [mailto:ryoder@mail.unomaha.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 4:09 PM
> To: Brady, Bernard; p2tech@great-lakes.net
> Cc: 'hhaines@state.mt.us'; 'Estes, Laura'
> Subject: RE: Gas or Electric
> just a note on H2 production -
> one of the arguments against wind or solar power is that power capacity
> isn't available when needed (still  or cloudy days) or is available when
> isn't needed.  i've oft considered hydrogen as an "energy battery" in this
> case, allowing the overproduction to be stored in a portable (but not yet
> universally usable.  Ahem,  at least until the fruition of the just
> announced Bush administration focus on fuel cell cars instead of more
> efficient fossil fuel vehicles) format.  Not my idea - it's something a
> great shadetree mechanic, retired farmer type did just 15 miles from Iowa
> State University, where I got my engineering degree.  Quite a guy - his
> windmill would generate electricity that he's use to power everything, but
> when his production exceeded demand, he'd split the water into hydrogen
> oxygen.  Ran his tractor on the H2, used teh gas for a cutting torch and i
> can't remember what else. No rumor this - saw the local news segment on it
> and it was a discussion in class the following day - back in '81 or '82.
> pretty neat...  but not commercially viable, evidently - which i always
> thought was the stress cracking issue of H2 reaction with steel
compounds -
> but with fiberwound composite tanks, that shouldn't be an issue... must be
> something else.
> BTW - good point on the balance of what we like and what we don't.  If we
> were thinking outside of the box, maybe we'd choose to genetically
> a horse or other grazing animal to fit in residential neighborhoods.  Oh,
> wait!  It's been done - says here:
> http://www.amha.com/ that with supplemental (for a balanced diet, I
> feed, the pasture size requirement for a Miniature Horse is 3 horses/acre,
> or that "one can easily be kept in the average residential backyard,
> depending upon local zoning laws"  Careful, those local zoning folks can
> real philistines.
> regards,
> ry
> ********************************
> Richard Yoder, PE
> Director, P2ric.org
> 1313 Farnam St.   Ste. 230
> Omaha, NE  68182
> 402-595-2381
> fax: 402-595-2385
> ryoder@unomaha.edu
> http://www.p2ric.org
> http://nbdc.unomaha.edu
>                     "Brady, Bernard"
>                     <bbra461@ECY.WA.GO        To:     "'Estes, Laura'"
> <laurae@montana.edu>, "'P2Tech@great-lakes.net'"
>                     V>                        <P2Tech@great-lakes.net>
>                     Sent by:                  cc:
> "'hhaines@state.mt.us'" <hhaines@state.mt.us>
>                     owner-p2tech@great        Subject:     RE: Gas or
> Electric
>                     -lakes.net
>                     01/10/02 12:20 PM
>                     Please respond to
>                     "Brady, Bernard"
> It's always interesting to see that in these discussions, we attempt to
> support the alternative we like by leaving out or overlooking some of its
> negatives while loading up the alternative we don't like with all the
> imaginable negatives. I agree with Howard Haines' points about the real
> justifications for preferring electric mowers (cord or cordless) over
> gasoline-powered being geographically specific. Outside LA, maybe, this is
> a
> tempest in a teapot. However, there are a couple of Howard's comments that
> need correction. One is that gas turbine power plants are not more energy
> efficient than thermal plants ... BTW: I assume he means coal-fired
> Gas turbine, coal-fired, and nuke all get electricity by converting from
> heat. If typical coal-fired efficiency is 33 to 35% (Howard's Montana
> example), they're a lot less efficient than a gas-fired turbine at 52 to
> 60%
> ... I assume we're both talking about the ratio of the power output to
> heat value. And as for emissions, Howard suggested looking at the back end
> of jet engines (for those who don't know it, gas turbines are jet engines
> bolted down). That ain't fair. Gas turbines in power plants are now
> required
> to have selective catalytic and carbon monoxide catalyst control systems
> that reduce NOx and CO (and some VOC) emissions to small fractions of what
> comes out the back end of an uncontrolled jet engine.
> The second comment is that fuel cells are 80% efficient. That's only true
> for the conversion of hydrogen heat value to power output. Unfortunately,
> there ain't no uncombined hydrogen around. Natural gas and coal are used
> a form not greatly different from the way they come out of the ground.
> Gasoline is distilled from petroleum along with some reforming reactions
> break too big molecules down to gasoline range. Some energy value is lost
> in
> that process. But, you can only get hydrogen with a net energy value by
> reforming it from a fossil fuel. So, you really start with something like
> gasoline before you get to the fuel cell. Yes, you can get hydrogen
> electrolytically from water, but you get no net heating value. You have to
> use just as much energy (actually more) to separate hydrogen from oxygen
> you'd bet back by re-combining it at the fuel cell. Anyway, when you
> the fossil fuel, say methane (the simplest), you lose the heat value of
> carbon part of the molecule. If I remember correctly, the net efficiency
> a reformer - fuel cell combo is about 50%. On the other hand, at the
> emissions source, the emissions are only water and carbon dioxide.
> Not that I expect anyone will really have read this far, but I finally
> a compulsion to offer my "what to do" suggestion: Keep using your
> gas-powered mower 'til it wears out. Then replace it with whatever is most
> cost effective and useful for you. Take care of it. Service it: Change the
> oil, clean the filter, clean and/or replace the spark plug, drain and
> dispose of the gas in the tank at the end of the mowing season. Set the
> mower for the highest grass length. Cut the grass frequently enough to
> your neighbors happy, but don't try for Better Homes and Gardens awards.
> Water enough in the summer to keep the whole lawn from turning brown, but
> not so much that your yard looks like a field of emerald green. Kill the
> lawn weeds: By hand if you have time, or spot spray. Replace your lawn
> a vegetable or flower garden if you like. But, that'll be a lot more work
> than the lawn, so be realistic. Don't worry. Be happy.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Estes, Laura [mailto:laurae@montana.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 9:30 AM
> To: 'P2Tech@great-lakes.net'
> Cc: 'hhaines@state.mt.us'
> Subject: FW: Gas or Electric
> This information from a colleague who has done quite a bit of engine
> emissions work.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Haines, Howard [mailto:hhaines@state.mt.us]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2002 4:28 PM
> To: 'Estes, Laura'; Tomas Vinson (E-mail)
> Subject: RE: Gas or Electric
> Dear Laura and Tomas,
> I am not on the P2Tech, but you can post it there. This reads like someone
> should have shown up at one of my workshops with the Health and Air
> Impacts of Bio-based Fuels and Lubes in Small Engines slide show. These
> were
> given in Montana, Minnesota (2), Michigan (7), New York, Washington D. C.,
> and are now being done in parts of Canada.
> As of January 2002, the newer lawnmowers would be the most efficient
> mechanical units in terms of energy, CO2 emissions, and reduced pollution
> for areas that do not have air quality problems.
> Newer lawnmowers are almost all 4-stroke engines (see the EPA report at
> OTAQ), and some have electronic fuel injection-quite a bit cleaner than
> older 2-strokes, and more energy efficient (less CO2 emissions).  For
> look at a number of reports by CARB and Southwest Research Institute.
> In most of the data I have seen, the reasoning behind electric lawn mowers
> (and vehicles) is to move the pollution out of an air shed that has poor
> air
> (exceeding regulated pollutant levels), and away from people, to an air
> shed
> where the electricity is produced.  The idea is to reduce pollution at the
> site of use so that other pollution sources (like industries that have
> fewer
> energy options) can operate in the same air shed.  In most cases when you
> think about it, electric mowers don't make much sense except for the
> utility
> companies.  True, a coal-steam plant in Montana may be 33 to 35 percent
> efficient, but it looses (rule of thumb) about ten percent to move it down
> to California.  With that size of operation, the typical battery and
> recharge losses (30 to 45 percent) would cut the efficiency or increases
> the
> emissions even more.  From an energy or emissions standpoint, an electric
> lawn mower is like cutting butter with a chainsaw.
> Gas turbines for electric production are not all that efficient compared
> the large thermal plants, but they are cheap.  As for emissions, just look
> out the back of any turbojet airplane and see the difference.
> Fuel cells where the heat can be used can get up to 85 percent efficiency,
> but they are just now starting to come down in price. If you don't think a
> fuel cell-powered mower is possible, then I won't worry you with the one I
> saw at a unit of the Department of Defense in Utah.  They also have a fuel
> cell-powered utility vehicle (bigger than a golf cart, smaller than an
> auto)
> that has an overall efficiency of somewhere in the mid-40s.  There are
> plans
> for a fuel cell-powered snowmobile as well, but that is still on paper for
> the time being.
> For a specific comparison of fuel economy, CO, HC, and PM emissions
> 2- and 4- stroke small engines, see the fourth, sixth, and seventh slides
> (titled Emissions of 2-stroke vs 2-stroke Engines) in the Health and Air
> Quality Impacts of Bio-based Fuels and Lubes in Small Engines slide show
> (at
> http://www.deq.state.mt.us/CleanSnowmobile/montana/hpp.pdf ).  In the
> fourth
> slide, a comparison of CO and HC is done for two 2-stroke snowmobile
> engines
> circa 1995 and 1998, a 1998 personal water craft engine, a 4-stroke engine
> is a utility-type engine (a bit bigger, but not unlike a lawn mower), and
> an
> advanced 4-stroke engine (with emission controls similar to an automotive
> engine).  The sixth slide down compares fuel consumption, and the seventh
> illustrates particulate matter emissions.  The data were all developed at
> Southwest Research Institute, some of which was paid for by this
> Department.
> Information on cleaning up these small engines also on the web site
> (www.deq.state.mt.us\cleansnowmobile or www.cleansnowmobilefacts.org .
> Just
> by using an ethanol blend fuel and low emissions lube oil in a two-stroke
> engine, we measured reductions of CO by 9 to 38 percent, HC reductions of
> 16
> to 27 percent, and particulate matter reductions of 25 to 70 percent.  NOx
> was not affected, and NOx emissions from 2-stroke engines are low-so low
> that they produce ammonia.  A number of colleges have also been looking
> into
> cleaning up and quieting down 2-stroke engines as illustrated in the
> results
> from the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge (also on the web site).  Catalytic
> converts are available and used (in Europe, Asia, and some places here)
> engines as small as chain saws.  It would not be a problem to put one on a
> lawn mower.
> I suspect many on the P2Tech list will not have to worry about snowmobile
> emissions, but the same principles apply to jet skis, personal watercraft,
> small marine engines, and ATVs.  This site represents over $1 million in
> research done in or for the greater Yellowstone (as in National Park)
> region.
> Back to the first topic of keeping the area around buildings trimmed in a
> acceptable (pollution-prevention) method.
> I would suggest a more efficient way to keep the grass short-use a drought
> resistant grass variety (like buffalo grass) and/or your neighbors' horses
> (or sheep) to periodically mow it.  I also limit watering.  If I don't
> water, I don't have to mow here in Montana. I keep it dry enough to where
> dandelions don't grow, but it stays green to keep the dust down. I know
> that
> some places in this country it rains (Seattle, WA, Beaumont TX, New
> New York, Michigan), so other methods might be needed.  Like possibly not
> growing any grass at all: put in a vegetable garden with mulch, or do
> something a bit more natural.
> This was less than 15 minutes of thought/typing, and I apologize if it was
> boring.  Just know that someone has been working on the problem of
> engine emissions because once you are out the U. S., almost all the
> vehicles
> use either diesel or 2-stroke engines.
> Howard Haines
> Bioenergy Engineering Specialist
> Montana Department of Environmental Quality
> Hhaines@state.mt.us