Friday, 1 August 2008

BBC Panorama / comparison with electric cars

I just saw an episode of Panorama that was first broadcast last week.
They took an electric G-Wiz up the strip at Santa Pod, a similar idea to what we did a few weeks ago with my vegetable oil car.

I bet mine was a lot quicker than the G-Wiz, although they didn't show their time.
My car is also a lot better for the environment and cheaper, which is what the TV program was about.

My car runs on a waste product (cooking oil) which was going to be disposed of in a way that produces carbon dioxide. Instead of disposing of it that way, I collect it, filter it and put it into my car. In the Santa Pod example, I dispose of the waste by turning it into carbon dioxide whilst also accelerating along a quarter mile track from a standing start. No more carbon dioxide is produced than if I had not intervened in the process. I pick up the waste oil from restaurants using my car, so there's no source of net carbon there either, and there is no cost.

The G-Wiz runs on electricity which comes from the National Grid. A large proportion of electricity in the National Grid comes from fossil fuels, which is a separate problem that I'd like to see addressed. If you plug your G-Wiz into a wind turbine, then well done - you've found a good way to power your vehicle (albeit very slowly, over a short range). If you plug it into your home power supply, then you are responsible for adding extra load to a stretched grid, burning fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide and costing yourself money - you are just doing it in a way that isn't immediately obvious.