In the German city of Halle, a housing cooperative came up with the idea of landing one in the town a lightning rod powered by a bioethanol-powered generator.
For now, it seems like a pretty Darwin-winning idea.
With such projects, we can’t always decide whether to cry or laugh. It’s a bit like when a – typically – Chinese company copies a new, chilly-wild western technical product that works, it just yells at the tap that the point isn’t over. The Germans have heard of electric cars, they know they need to be rechargedit also seemed a good idea to install one in a city.
So a bioethanol-powered generator was put down.
No, we’re not kidding. The reason was said that the whole filling machine could be disposed of by the service provider as a container, so there is no need to pave the way or expand the network to install the charger. The company even takes over refueling and maintenance.
The idea is undoubtedly interesting, and even it could even be viable in areas far from civilization where such a 150 kW lightning charger would be useful, but electricity would have to be carried from a hundred miles away. (Of course, the theoretical alternative even here is a combination of battery and solar cell, but suppose there is not enough space for the panels or the number of hours of sunshine is very low in the area). But here it is the center of a 270,000-strong German settlement where power supply would certainly have been possible, but even the buildings could have received solar panels. The 173 thousand euros – that’s the price of the project – can fit quite a lot.
Aside from the fact that it is difficult to understand exactly why this alternative was chosen, basically, in principle there are two problems with bioethanol.
One is to produce many times land and drinking water are taken away from food production or natural vegetation. According to the service provider, they buy fuel produced from plant residues, so this is not a problem here.
The other is adverse health effects of combustion products. Ethanol is well known compared to gasoline and oil it burns very cleanly, in addition, it has a very high octane number of around 108. The problem is that although this fuel is often classified as a green technology and is even called a renewable yet we are talking about incineration.
Burning ethanol though it emits less emissions in the traditional sense and measuredas if we were running the generator on gasoline or diesel, but it is its combustion products contain carcinogens acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, namely to an extremely high extent compared to petrol. It is also supported by several studies on how the evaporation of ethanol is extremely increases the concentration of ground-level ozone, which is also harmful to health. In addition, because pure ethanol is extremely corrosive and would ruin the engine pretty quickly, most of the time mixed with additivesthe combustion products of which can also be harmful to health.
And he managed to put that down in the middle of a city.
Do you use an electric car?