Cars running on ethanol can pollute too: Brazil study

Sep 17, 2009
Sao Paulo traffic. Cars running on sugarcane ethanol can produce as many harmful pollutants as those using ordinary petrol (gasoline), according a study published by Brazil's environment ministry.

Cars running on sugarcane ethanol can produce as many harmful pollutants as those using ordinary petrol (gasoline), according a study published by Brazil's environment ministry.

But the report on the emissions of the cars on Brazil's roads does not count .

"We want to make sure that customers are aware of pollutant emissions" when they buy a car, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Tuesday on delivering the report.

The study ranked emissions based of a scale of "green grades" that measured three pollutant gases that do not produce but do affect the health of a country's population: carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide.

The green grade scale, ranging from 0-10, does not count carbon emissions, which are the main driver of global warming, because emissions from burning ethanol are offset by the carbon dioxide that sugar cane absorbs as it grows, the study said.

The research also examined 250 so-called "flex-fuel" cars, which use both ethanol and petrol and constitute about 85 percent of all cars on the road in Brazil.

Among those receiving the lowest scores, eight were cars running on , including several with "flex" engines, the study said, though all of the models examined met Brazil's standards for maximum emissions levels in 2008.

Environmental group Greenpeace welcomed the report, but an official with the group's climate change campaign in Brazil, Joao Talochhi, told Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper that "when it comes to public health, the Brazilian government should invest in non-polluting technology."

(c) 2009 AFP

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dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (6) Sep 17, 2009
Kind of not so funny when one realizes that it is the other pollutants that cause far more harm than CO2, including health problems.

It is quite ironic when one considers the commercials for so-called green, environmentally friendly vehicles, including the PRIUS with all the smiling and waving clouds, plants and so forth. :)
Mavin
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 17, 2009
If CO2 is so bad that we need to act now to prevent irreversible climate change, I want someone to tell me just how green our planet would be if we got rid of all that nasty bad CO2?
dachpyarvile
2.8 / 5 (4) Sep 17, 2009
The article does not really discuss CO2 with reference to these vehicles, and indeed CO2 is not counted as mentioned above, because use of cane ethanol is CO2 neutral because of the CO2 consumed by the sugar cane when growing.

As to preventing irreversible climate change, I do not believe that we are capable of either causing or preventing major change.

I also do not believe in climate change being irreversible except in one case. It is in what will happen to this planet in the future if we do not double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The oceans will be blasted into space when the Sun ramps up its fusion rate sometime within the next million to billion years.

CO2 will have a protective effect on the atmosphere sans bleeding off or permanent sequestration of nitrogen in suffient quantities.

The CO2 option is cost effective (we already are doing it as a byproduct of other services in use!) and actionable with present technology.
PPihkala
2.7 / 5 (3) Sep 17, 2009
We should not eliminate CO2 altogether and we can not do that. What we should do is to reduce CO2 to levels that it would be without all the pollution humans cause by current technology, including burning oil and coal.

What this article is about, is that there are other pollutants too, that need to be addressed, but CO2 should come first.
dachpyarvile
Sep 18, 2009
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dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2009
I forgot to add that we recently dropped back down to an annual increase of 1.5 ppm CO2 annually.

Catastrophic predictions by the IPCC and NSIDC, as well as others, for the year 2100 are not plausible since that is 91 years away and a 1.5 ppm CO2 annual increase will not get us to the tipping point that allowed Antarctic ice to begin forming by that time.

At current rates of increase, by 2100 we will be at 136.5 ppm higher, or 523.5 ppm atmospheric CO2. Once again, the hotly debated, newly discovered tipping point that allowed ice to begin forming on Antarctica is 760 ppm atmospheric CO2.
dachpyarvile
Sep 18, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jerryd
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2009
I see the political nut cases are out in force. There is nothing in this article about CO2, just the other pollutants. Those who don't believe in GW just refuse to look at the facts. And try to stay on topic.

The worst is NOx which ethanol makes little of because it runs cool which cuts the heat needed to make it. The others depend on the state of tune, complete burning, the motors are in.
dachpyarvile
4 / 5 (1) Sep 18, 2009
No, the article does discuss CO2-briefly. It only mentions that it is not included in the report because cane sugar ethanol is considered carbon neutral.

But the report on the emissions of the cars on Brazil's roads does not count carbon dioxide emissions.

* * *

The green grade scale, ranging from 0-10, does not count carbon emissions, which are the main driver of global warming, because emissions from burning ethanol are offset by the carbon dioxide that sugar cane absorbs as it grows, the study said.


So far as NOx is concerned, it depends upon the engine. NOx still is produced, which is why the study wishes proper information to be presented to the buyer. It may be less produced but it still is produced and will add up when you multiply how many vehicles produce it and how much still gets into the atmosphere over time.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2009
@dachpyrville
The oceans will be blasted into space when the Sun ramps up its fusion rate sometime within the next million to billion years.
By that time we should know enough to be able to ramp it back down again. Or move the earth on a whim.
dachpyarvile
Sep 20, 2009
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dachpyarvile
Sep 21, 2009
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dachpyarvile
Sep 21, 2009
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