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SG-W:/ Oxides of Nitrogen



Nox801                                   Question about NOx
 
           This is a question that I feel is so important that it must be asked even though it may be difficult to get an answer. This question applies to any system that uses an engine, including wood gasification..
            Environmentalists are telling us that NOx is a serious pollutant and greenhouse gas. In most cases energy efficiency reduces pollution. However in the case of NOx high compression engines that are more efficient, probably invariably create more NOx. I am not sure but believe that one of the reasons that two cycle fuel injected engines have not been used in cars is that the excess oxygen present interferes with the ability of the catalytic converter to eliminate NOx.
            However the big issue is Cogeneration. Universal Cogeneration would certainly result  in a great reduction in fuel consumption. The direct route to this is engine driven alternators which would produce a lot of additional NOx. Obviously fuel cells would cure this problem but I read papers on fuel cells 35 years ago while working at Bendix Aerospace and they are still not in production. I will believe in them when I see them. In the meantime we are wasting a lot of energy.
           I remember reading older references that said that nitrogen fixed by lightning was a natural fertilizer and greatly enhanced plant growth. Therefore there must be natural NOx and it does have some beneficial qualities. It does probably produce both nitric and nitrous acids and would be a component of acid rain.
          My two questions are whether we would not be better off to accept the NOx and its energy saving without mitigation and whether we could collect it in the exhaust system by running the exhaust through ash water, limewater, or whatever. We could get a lot of fertilizer that way. It could actually be an advantage for the IC engine.
           If the NOx is a crucial problem then it could  push Cogeneration toward less efficient steam, Sterling-Steam combinations or even to Mercury-Steam  (Politically incorrect but maybe useful) combinations.
         If anyone knows a climatologist I wish they would ask this question. In my opinion we should go ahead full steam with Cogeneration and see what happens.
 
                                                         Kermit Schlansker,  Ann Arbor, Michigan