November 17, 2006
The Fleet Replacement Problem
Jim Mayer has an interesting piece in yesterday's O about particulate emissions from diesel, especially off-road equipment.
The interesting part to me is how long it takes to replace the installed base of equipment:
...thanks to slow turnover, the health benefits from the new standards won't be realized until 2030.
This is referencing rules that will take effect in 2015. So even if we put the rules in effect tomorrow, it would take 15 years to get the main benefit, because it will take that long for a majority of equipment to be replaced.
We have exactly the same problem with fuel efficiency, which is why to get ready for Peak Oil, we need new vehicles to be radically more fuel efficient NOW. The gas (or diesel) guzzlers already on the road are still going to be with us for a while.
November 17, 2006 9:56 AM
Ron Swaren Says:
Actually, any proposal that purports to be an economic and/or environmental improvement should be subject to a much more thorough analysis of the overall cost and benefits. To use a popular example on this board--when taxes are raised to alleviate a pollution problem, for example, it requires people to work more to pay those taxes, thus contributing further to the pollution problem. Therfore the "solution" should actually cause less problems than the original "problem" it solves. This is a lot more difficult than it seems.
If, by way of example, we were to promote B5, and then B5 became more expensive than standard diesel, then we have imposed an economic burden that requires more economic activity to pay for.
The solution is a "sea change", usually requiring enough research to make a true economic improvement for the vast majority of society. This happened a century ago with the switch from horses to internal combustion engines. Now with that change having run its course what is next?
I think electrical power, will be next. (Or a hybrid combination). The generation of electric power with virtually no environmental degradation
has been proven. Bringing it to economic profitability is the next challenge, which can be done with a vast enough market ( for windpower, I suggest the Great Lakes region) to conduct a sufficient number of trials and experiments to bring the entire industry's costs down.
A temperate mountainous region with plenty of water, such as the Pacific Northwest or the BC/Alaska coast, is perfect for small scale hydropower. Both windpower and small hydro will become more cost-effective as the design of generators improves. Standardization of the generators and plants could also lower the cost.
I am following the capacitor technology for storing electrical power, which could replace batteries. It would be interesting to see what the economic/emvironmental costs of manufacturing these capacitors are. Do they require a large, expensive plant? Are there hazardous gases released during manufacture? How are they rebuilt or recycled when the time comes? Are they safe for the consumer ( a sudden capacitor discharge could be very dangerous/deadly)? See:http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/03/maxwell_technol.html Getting enough charge into them in a short time is another hurdle. Maybe a 220v power source?
The Residential construction industry(as opposed to commercial) has traditionally used a wide variety of materials--thus a wide array of diesel powered equipment. With the switch to condos built out of reinforced concrete the "heavy equipment spectrum" is narrowed. Maybe we could facilitate a switch to environmentally friendly fuel for the diesel powered concrete mixing and pumping rigs, which are (very)slowly replacing the logging rigs and skidsters.
November 17, 2006 10:26 AM
Paul Edgar Says:
Fleet replacement with the new upgrades is very important. We must take agressive steps to reduce toxic emmissions in our region.
The problem and opportunity that Jim spells out is only tip of the iceberg.
With the I-5/I-405 corridors forcasted to have stopages of 5 to 6-miles long in 2030 with NO fixes on the map in the STIP and MTIP listed projects, virtually all truck traffic and cars will be at a dead stop, with their engines idling.