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Saving The Planet Is Harder Than you Thought!

July 17, 2016

By Paul Homewood  

 

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3688189/Not-green-Fuel-efficient-cars-churning-pollutants-previously-thought.html

From the Mail:

 

Motorists hoping to save money and the environment with a fuel efficient car may want to take a closer look at what their vehicle has under the bonnet.

Canadian researchers have found that some engines designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions may actually emit more soot and toxic compounds from their exhausts than other engines.

They claim manufacturers and consumers may not be weighing up the environmental costs of their new vehicles in the drive for more efficient vehicles.

 

More than half of cars on the road will use fuel efficient technology by 2050. But Canadian researchers have found that some engines designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions may actually emit more soot and toxic compounds from their exhausts (stock image)

 

More than half of cars on the road will use fuel efficient technology by 2050. But Canadian researchers have found that some engines designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions may actually emit more soot and toxic compounds from their exhausts (stock image)

It suggests that while the cars may appear to be using less fossil fuels, they are potentially having a worse impact on the environment and people’s health.

 

MORE EFFICIENT, BUT MORE HARMFUL?

Fuel efficient engines aim to deliver more bang for the driver’s buck by injecting fuel directly into the engine’s combustion chambers.

But researchers found that under certain conditions, these engines can produce more soot and toxic chemical compounds – often due to poor or clogged air intake.

They explain in the drive for more efficient vehicles, manufacturers and consumers may not be fully weighing up the environmental costs of their new car, with the effects potentially have a worse impact on the climate.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering looked at the emissions from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, which are smaller and more efficient than traditional petrol engines.

Car manufacturers have adopted GDI engines in models to satisfy demand for more miles per gallon, and increased power output. According to the team, the number of GDI engines found in new cars between 2009 and 2015 has jumped to from five per cent to 46 per cent.

But their analysis revealed while carbon dioxide emissions were lower in GDI engines, they pumped out more soot and harmful organic compounds such as benzene and toluene.

‘The whole motivation for creating these engines in the first place was fuel efficiency. But what we haven’t considered are the other climate-related emissions,’ explained Professor Greg Evans, an engineer and applied chemist at Toronto.

‘If a vehicle emits a small amount of soot, it can completely negate the lower amount of CO2 that it’s emitting.’

GDI engines work by injecting fuel directly into the combustion chambers of the car’s engine, which enables less fuel to be used.

 

 

Car manufacturers have adopted GDI engines in models to satisfy demand for more miles per gallon, and increased power output. According to the team, the number of GDI engines found in new cars between 2009 and 2015 has jumped to from five per cent to 46 per cent.

By pumping the fuel directly into the cylinders, it enables the car’s computer to have more precise control over the mix of fuel and air.

This aims to deliver more bang for the drivers buck through more efficient burning of fuel and more power delivery.

‘If a vehicle emits a small amount of soot, it can completely negate the lower amount of CO2 that it’s emitting.’

When the Toronto team looked at the chemical composition of emissions from GDI engines, it found they ranked almost in the top 25 per cent of all vehicles studied for soot, and were between the top 10 to 20 per cent for toxic organic compounds.

But when considering the net benefit of a driver’s green choice on the environment, they had to incorporate factors such as the composition of the fuel, the local temperature and the lifetime of the vehicle.

One of the factors which can increase the amount of soot produced is the quality of the air which hits the engine’s intake system.

 

 

 

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) systems (stock image of a Hyundai GDI) inject fuel directly into the combustion chambers of the car’s engine, which enables less fuel to be used

In cities and built up areas, the air is likely to have a higher proportion of fine particles which could make it into the engine.

Over time, this can clog up the system, leading to less efficient fuel combustion and more soot.

Recent research has shown that fine soot particles from car engines can have a dramatic impact on health and are implicated in breathing problems and an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

However, installing efficient particulate filters in vehicles with GDI engines could balance this and benefit the climate, the team adds.

‘We found that in some cases, you need up to a 20 per cent improvement in fuel economy in order to offset black carbon emissions,’ said Dr Naomi Zimmerman, lead author of the two studies which will be published in two papers in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

By pumping the fuel directly into the cylinders (pictured second from right), it enables the car¿s computer to have more precise control over the mix of fuel and air, giving more efficient burning of fuel and more power delivery. But poor or clogged filters in the air intake system (first image, left) can choke the system of air, leading to incomplete complete combustion and more soot and organic compounds churned out

 

By pumping the fuel directly into the cylinders (pictured second from right), it enables the car’s computer to have more precise control over the mix of fuel and air, giving more efficient burning of fuel and more power delivery. But poor or clogged filters in the air intake system (first image, left) can choke the system of air, leading to incomplete complete combustion and more soot and organic compounds churned out

‘Offsetting the black carbon [soot] might be realistic in a place like California, where fuel composition is more strictly regulated and seasonal temperatures fluctuate less, but is harder to achieve in Canada.’

According to the team, industry experts predict that more than half of cars on the road by 2020 will use fuel-efficient engine types. But the net effect of such a huge transition on the environment is unclear.

Professor Evans added: ‘All the complex interactions show that because of the well intentioned desire to mitigate climate warming, the technology is changing quickly and we are not properly considering all the trade-offs and side effects.’

‘As engine designs improve, the balance between all these factors could change again.’

MailOnline contacted a number of car manufacturers for comment but had not received response at time of publication.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3688189/Not-green-Fuel-efficient-cars-churning-pollutants-previously-thought.html

 

Now I’ve got a diesel, and I did not buy it to save the world from global warming. I bought it to save money, and get a car that would last a lot longer.

I suspect that anybody who bought GDIs had the same motivation. After all, if they were so concerned about the polar bears, wouldn’t they be driving Citroen C5s? Or, for that matter, living in yurts, knitting yoghurt and singing Harry Krishna?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 17, 2016 7:49 pm

    Alternative headline:

    ‘(Some) lazy, tight-fisted owners fail to comply with servicing recommendations by delaying air-intake filter replacements.’

    That’s solved it.

  2. Billy Liar permalink
    July 17, 2016 8:36 pm

    Doesn’t these ‘researchers’ thesis depend on where the engine control unit sensors are placed? If the inlet air mass flow sensors are placed after the air filter then the ECU will calculate the correct amount of fuel to be injected irrespective of whether the air filter is clogged or not.

    Did these academic geniuses think to look at the sensor arrangement? Did they think to propose a simple solution if the sensor arrangement is non-optimal?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      July 18, 2016 12:29 am

      Quite.

      I very much doubt the ‘researchers’ have any knowledge of internal combustion engine technology at all.

      And that is not the only piece of prime BS in the article.

      Looks like yet another baffle ’em with BS bid to put tax up to me.

    • July 18, 2016 11:31 am

      Maybe the sensors placed by those who determined the locations at Heathrow Airport?

  3. tempestnut permalink
    July 17, 2016 9:49 pm

    A lot of waffle around what is well known information to engine engineers. I alluded to this in one of my many replies to articles that demonise diesel engines ignoring the facts. How ironic they suggest particulate filters for these GDi petrol engines.

    I agree with their thesis that it is pointless trying to save on CO2 at the expense of HC (unburnt hydrocarbons) and particulates, especially if you may have to fit a particulate filter to the engine. But any technology you add to a petrol or gasoline engine (spark ignited) to save fuel will return double or more if applied to a diesel engine (compression ignited)

    There was a study recently that suggested that some London buses have more particulates inside the bus that the ambient level outside. They were looking to blame leaking exhausts completely ignoring the fact they had not analysed where the particulates come from. It is common knowledge that particulate levels in cities have not gone down despite the levels from diesel being 100 time less than 20 years ago. This is because just about every activity we have in our industrialised world creates particulates.

    This also leads onto the validity of some of our medical research, and the motivation behind the results.

    I switched my wife’s car from diesel to GDi, and immediately got 20mpg less. Despite all the promises they don’t deliver.

    • July 17, 2016 10:52 pm

      #1 Fallacy of proportion : London 2016 air is 1,000 times cleaner than air over South East Asia with its biannual forest fire haze + continual ship smog around Singapore
      ..then China’s Beijing and other city hazes.

      #2 @tempestnut any PROPER journalist would be challenging UK particulate claims like hell. The claim is that significant number of life days are lost as some peoples lives end 1-2 years earlier.
      When the BBC producer carried a monitor, he mentions that highest measurements were in side the station lobby then buried at the end says in the Tube the measurements were 100s of times higher, but that is due to rust …what and those particles never get carried up into stations and streets ?
      – Are they saying that the levels are higher today than 10, 20 years ago ?
      There may not even be increased traffic than 20 years ago ..and diesel buses and trucks are much cleaner. Would a cost benefit analysis show it’s worth normal cars pushing to a higher level ?

      Housing and job markets need to be so fluid that people can live within walking distance to their jobs. (not more public transport) Its crazy at so many levels that people cross each other travelling an hour to their jobs.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        July 18, 2016 12:44 am

        Living oop North, I remember when every practically factory got its power from steam engines and line shafts, all powered by a nest of Lancashire boilers burning coal of highly variable quality. The smoke from them in some town like Huddersfield, Leeds or Manchester when they all fired up at once on a Monday morning had to be seen to believed.

        I was caught in the last great smog that afflicted Manchester in the winter of 1965, that was something too.

      • July 18, 2016 12:34 pm

        On another blog I asked the simple question, who are all these dead people, can I have just one name. As you can guess I got no answer and deleted for my efforts.

        I doubt particulates could cause lung cancer, but I know most particulate don’t come from vehicle exhausts, and the general level are not increasing or decreasing for the last 20 years. I also know that the regulators can’t reduce the levels in the Current Euro6 or EPA13 engines (same as EPA10 with some bolt on rubbish about CO2) as they can barely measure them now they are so low.

        When I see university students and BBC reporters going out with hand held devices and measuring particulates I see a joke. To measure individual engines in service requires some serious equipment, Cummins in the US for example have a 45 foot articulated trailer they can hook up to a tractor unit and measure NOx, HC CO and particulates. CO2 is directly related to fuel burn and can not be changed, hence the focus now on fuel economy, which is at odds with reducing NOx (the stuff that turns the air brown), and reducing NOx is at odds with reducing particulates, all other things being equal.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      July 18, 2016 12:39 am

      There is now enough platinum and other rare earths in road dirt due to deterioration of catalytic converters that it is profitable to extract them. I don’t know for certain what the effect of a catalyst like very finely divided platinum is on lung tissue, but I think I can guess.

      Then there is tyre rubber, there is all sorts of good stuff in that, I wonder how many tons of that are generated every year, also particles from brake pad and disk wear.

      Another point about cats, before they are warmed up, they emit all kinds of interesting partial combustion products, primarily formaldehyde, this is very noticeable in towns during morning rush hour.

      Incidentally, I saw a report recently that electric cars and hybrids produce more rubber and brake particles due to their increased weight compared to a similar fossil fuelled vehicle.

      Swings and roundabouts…

      • July 19, 2016 11:41 am

        AA says “Particulates (PM) – particulate matter is partly burned fuel associated mainly with diesel engines and is also formed by the reaction between other pollutants.
        PM10s and the smaller PM2.5s are particles that can pass deep into the lungs causing respiratory complaints and contributing to the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Modern diesel cars are fitted with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) to stop these particles passing into the atmosphere.”

      • July 19, 2016 11:50 am

        This AA page shows the evolution of the Euro 1,2,3,4,5, 6 diesel standards with particulate limits coming down 1000 fold etc.

  4. July 17, 2016 10:38 pm

    Paul : spelling “often die to poor or clogged air intake.” suggest “due”

  5. tom0mason permalink
    July 18, 2016 5:46 am

    “After all, if they were so concerned about the polar bears, wouldn’t they be driving Citroen C5s? Or, for that matter, living in yurts, knitting yoghurt and singing Harry Krishna?”

    Surely they are all riding sustainably organic, solar powered velocipedes.

    Hare Rama Hare Rama
    Rama Rama Hare Hare
    Hare…

  6. July 18, 2016 1:34 pm

    “In cities and built up areas, the air is likely to have a higher proportion of fine particles which could make it into the engine.”

    This nonsense is probably not in the paper. Because later in the article we discover the real cause, “…poor or clogged filters in the air intake system … can choke the system of air, leading to incomplete complete combustion and more soot and organic compounds…”.

    Small engines -> small air filters = crappy engineering

    Hard to tell whose agenda is coming through, the journalist or one of the authors. In my opinion, it’s probably the journalist, since the paper is clear, and most journalists don’t seem to be able to read and comprehend more than sound bites and tweets.

  7. July 18, 2016 1:42 pm

    I have some other thoughts and observations about the fuel injection methods of Petrol engines. I believe (personal view) that the move to GDI is more a form of regulation to block completion and protect the bottom line than it is a technical necessity to save fuel (CO2).

    The arguments about GDI vs Carburettor has been raging since the Battle of Britain, in the Spitfire vs Messerschmitt dogfights. Most people still believe that the RR Merlin was at a disadvantage over the Daimler Benz engine with its direct injection. The reality was RR fixed the negative G issue quite quickly and derived a major advantage by injecting fuel directly into the eye of the supercharger from the latent heat of evaporation. It allowed the 27 litre Merlin to produce higher boost and always produce more power than the 35litre DB605. The Germans had to run very rich in order to avoid detonation and this affected fuel economy. The black smoke this rich mixer produced was one of the reasons many allied pilots thought they had shot down or damaged an aircraft that subsequently escaped and landed with no damage.

    Roll on 60 years and turn to formula 1. The manufacturers who have taken over the sport and wrecked it, force a change from naturally aspirated engines back to turbocharged engines. They knew there was no money to be made producing large capacity frugal clean naturally aspirated engines and needed a story to convince the public to fork out ever increasing amounts of money for no benefit. So they created the hybrid, said this was the future, and sure the they use less fuel. But so they should when they coast around with a fixed fuel capacity. But there is a world of difference between what F1 want and what the average car needs.

    But as always when you tax something (our road tax based on CO2) you get unintended consequences. My wife first Fiat 500 had a 1.3 litre turbo charged and intercooled diesel to Euro5 and would get 70mpg and pay road tax. Her current 500 has the twin cylinder 850cc or there about Twin Air engine a turbocharger and intercooled GDI engine with variable valve timing and is averaging 42MPG with a max of 50mpg if on a trip where you never floor the throttle and you pay NO road tax. Hell my old T reg Chrysler Voyager 2.5 litre Euro 1 with 150,000 miles on the clock gets 40 mpg. This is not progress.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      July 19, 2016 11:40 pm

      “Her current 500 has the twin cylinder 850cc or there about Twin Air engine a turbocharger and intercooled GDI engine with variable valve timing and is averaging 42MPG”

      My rather ancient C-class Mercedes 2.5 litre turbo diesel does at least that – more on a long run, can do 130+ MPH and has excellent acceleration, especially from around 1,800 RPM, redline at 5,000. And it is very comfortable. Also, I know which I’d sooner be in in a shunt, all that Krupp steel surrounding one is very reassuring

      Plus it runs very nicely on cooking oil that can be had at 50p per litre.

      I thought these modern fancy diesels were supposed to be an improvement…

  8. tom0mason permalink
    July 18, 2016 3:01 pm

    As water is a bigger IR responsive gas (the idiot’s aka ‘greenhouse gas’).
    Fully burning gasoline (petrol) can be approximated —

    C8H18 + O2 -> CO2 + H20

    Of course, we need to balance the equation so the same number of elements enter and exit our reaction:

    2C8H18 + 25O2 -> 16CO2 + 18H20

    So we are pumping more climate affecting water into the ecosystem than CO2.

    • Will Janoschka permalink
      July 19, 2016 9:46 pm

      “So we are pumping more climate affecting water into the ecosystem than CO2”

      You can noi more demonstrate that oxidizing gasoline affects climate, than you can define clomate.

      • tom0mason permalink
        July 19, 2016 9:53 pm

        Poor 3 finger typing movement and blurry eyes…

      • Will Janoschka permalink
        July 20, 2016 2:43 am

        “Poor 3 finger typing movement and blurry eyes…”
        Yep!!🙂 Small keyboard and being old does not help. What is climate?

  9. Gamecock permalink
    July 18, 2016 3:23 pm

    ‘Recent research has shown that fine soot particles from car engines can have a dramatic impact on health and are implicated in breathing problems and an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.’

    Steve Milloy has debunked this over and over.

  10. Andrew Duffin permalink
    July 19, 2016 7:53 am

    SOP is it not? EVERYTHING is worse than we thought! The sky is falling!

    btw there was a time, was there not, when you would not have needed a dinky little diagram to explain to the general public how a four-stroke IC engine worked? Or was that yet another instance of an “imaginary golden age that never existed”? Like the one in which all primary school children could actually read by the age of about eight…that never happened either, in Guardian-world, did it…

    • July 19, 2016 10:35 am

      You are correct about education. I hadn’t looked closely at that dinky little diagram closely, but it is for a diesel and not a GDI engine which is still spark ignited and has basically one ignition event.

      Herein lies the advantage of the compression ignition engine in that it has multiple injection events and far greater control over the combustion process, and for a give weight of fuel produces more power and far greater economy. Petrol engines will NEVER catch up, no matter how much BS is spouted by the Car manufacturers.

      And whilst the common rail fuel system (which by the way has been used in mechanical form By Cummins since the 50’s) with electronically actuated injectors is complicated, its nothing compared to the system a Petrol engine needs in order to avoid detonation, which when it happens at high boost is terminal , rather than the tinkling sound our old cars would make if we floored the throttle at low revs.

  11. Pete permalink
    July 19, 2016 10:04 am

    Any comparison between Diesel and Petrol engines concerning fuel consumption should take into account the higher energycontent of one gallon of diesel. From memory, the difference is about 20%.
    After factoring in this difference, the Diesel will still be more effcient but basicly this is all down to its higher compression ratio because the working principle for both engines is the same (Carnot?).

  12. July 19, 2016 11:35 am

    As ever the question is why it up to us little guys ? Where is mythical big oil or big car companies FIGHTING BACK ?
    Why to they roll over and acquiesce whenever green loonies infiltrate EU bodies etc..instead of saying “No, this we shouldn’t have to spend billions complying to these limits, cos they will make bugger all difference to public health ?”

    – One answer is that Huge corps like VW know it’s even more difficult for their small competitors and get squeezed out of the market.

    Similarly where are the AA and RAC on particulates ? Harrabin got caught out lying about AA said, but we know bias comes into to such orgs when their boyfriends/girlfriends get brainwashed by green propaganda.

    Come to think of it ..never mind VW customers getting compensation, what about VW’s competitors.. wonder if they can argue they ands workers have suffered cos their sales went to VW ?

    • July 19, 2016 10:07 pm

      Every manufacturer of every engine ever made tries to work around the emissions regulations. VW were the victims of a politically inspired campaign to extort tax revenue out of them. Technical regulations are the new trade barriers. German diesel powered cars save motorist thousands, but threaten Detroit’s bottom line. They certainly don’t threaten anyone’s health. The sad part is our corporates have no backbone and acquiesce to junk science.

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