Thursday, April 24, 2008

Better Air

I want to comment on an article from the May 2008 issue of Discover Magazine. There are several good articles in the segment "Better Planet Solutions" that I will probably comment on later, but this one caught my attention first. It is not available online, but if you want to read the whole article, it should be available at almost any library. Entitled "Better Air" it addresses concerns about world wide pollution. According to the article, 800,000 people are killed each year by the effects of air pollution.

"While big vehicles like Hummers and other SUVs are often blamed for excessive emissions, some of the worst culprits are the smallest rides around. Throughout Asia, vehicles with two-stroke engines produce vast amounts of pollutions."

Apparently, a single two-stroke engine produces pollution equal to that of 30-50 four-stroke engines. The author estimates 100 million motorcycles in Asia, giving off 2.5 billion cars' worth of pollution. Yuck! Several solutions have been tried, but without lasting effect. Enter Envrofit with a retrofit kit for two stroke engines that reduces emissions by almost 90 percent while increasing fuel efficiency by up to 35 percent. They have done field tests in the Philippines on tricycle taxis where after 8 months, the retrofit not only reduced emissions, but saved the taxi drivers money.

"By cutting fuel loss and reducing oil use by up to 50 percent, the modified engines may save their users as much as $600 a year. Bauer (co founder) believes that Envirofit could produce up to 500,000 kits in five years, 'putting $190 million into the hand of some of the poorest people' in the world."

IMO, that is the best part! I'm no big fan of pollution and if technology can reduce it AND save people money at the same time, it definitely has my support. Now, the article doesn't say how much the kit costs, which I can see as a big drawback if the upfront costs are prohibitive, even if it will save money in the long run. People aren't always very good at considering "the long run" so we'll see if this brings the improvement hoped for. Hopefully the word of mouth from the trials will be enough to get interest going!

After all, it's a step in the right direction...

3 comments:

Ruth said...

Amen!

genetuck said...

The kits are about $300 US, maybe up to $350 now. But part of the project is the furnishing of loans. The Taxi operators save so much on gas and oil that they can pay off the loans in less than a year. Envirofit can use donations to fund those loans and to train local mechanics to install and maintain the direct injection kits. A video on YouTube shows how they work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjBcxyKkpEE

Alberta said...

Thanks for the extra info. I also found Envirofit's website about the project here for anyone who's interested: http://www.envirofit.org/two_stroke_retrofit.html