My daddy's car is greener than yours!

Ahh. Children are so competitive. But so are green-o nut jobs. And I guess I'm one of them.

Someone on one of my YouTube videos commented a better use of my the 1,000 Watts over 12 hours to dewater my veggie oil would have been to charge an electric car. A very cutting and popular view. But utterly wrong.

In my attempt to fill the blogosphere with cluons, I will tear his statement down with objective analysis and not rude language.

To his defense - he's kinda right. Electric cars would be the best way to go. Centralized energy generation (generating plants) and unified energy distribution (the electrical grid). But to say that 12 kilowatt-hours to charge a car is better use than 200 litres of veggie oil shows how the poster was talking out of their butt. But that assumes a lot about the efficient generation, distribution and storage of said energy. Hint: lead acid is very heavy and isn't the answer.

Some things to know about the SI (Systeme Internationale) units:
  • 1 Watt is the instantaneous energy required to push 1 Ampare of current through 1 Ohm of impedance (resistance x inductance).
  • 1 Joule is the quantity of energy required to run 1 Watt for 1 second
  • 1 kilowatt-hour is the energy to push 1,000 Watts for 1 hour.
  • For 1000 Watts for 12 hours (or 43,200 seconds) that would total 43.2 megajoules
Now. Look at these sources:You can see that 1 litre of veggie oil has about 35 kilojoules per litre. So my 205L barrel (rounded down to 200L to account for the fact I don't fill it to the top) has about 7.0 gigajoules of energy (7,000 megajoules).

That means I'm spending one 160th the energy in the fuel to refine it. I find that perfectly acceptable.

Yeah yeah, I didn't account for the energy it took to make the heating element, or the barrel, or the containers, or the filter bags. But he didn't account for the energy it took to manufacture the transmission lines, lead acid batteries, electric motors, etc.

No comments: