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Old 4th September 2016, 20:07   #31
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Default Re: So, just how "green" are Electric Vehicles (specifically in India)?

The future of energy is definitely moving towards greener solutions; wind, solar, tidal, etc. With more energy being generated from these sources the lesser the environmental impact of the EV's.

We should also consider maintenance of the vehicle in this analysis. Remember, there is nothing like an oil change for an EV (no engine and transmission oil). The oil used in our cars is also a major pollutant. It's just that nobody ever bothers on how it is being disposed off especially in India. 1 drop of oil can spoil roughly 600 litres of drinking water! That is one of the reasons why in many European countries you are not allowed to wash the car anywhere you feel like (another reason is the detergents which are used).

The major worry for the EV's are the disposal of batteries and the dependency on rare-earth metals. Currently there is no fool proof mechanism for this but a lot of research is ongoing among the scientific communities in search of a cleaner storage mechanism for energy. And with more funding for these studies due to a stronger global push for green energy, higher & faster the chances for a new storage solution. For instance, Honda has already developed a solution for rare-earth metal free motor for vehicles.

Probably the "green" numbers may not be favourable towards EV's for countries dependent on fossil fuels for electricity; but this is only a matter of time. The future is a green electric world
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Old 5th September 2016, 06:26   #32
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Default Re: So, just how "green" are Electric Vehicles (specifically in India)?

Interesting topic, but this has been discussed many times over the years here. I will stick to what I have said before.

Electricity generation using coal (which, if I'm not mistaken is how India generates the majority of it's power), is in no way an environmentally sustainable way of generating electricity.



And the so-called "green" ways of power generation - solar and wind, aren't really "green" either.



According to the American Wind Energy Institution, just in the US alone, there were 5,700 wind turbines installed in 2009 - this required 36,000 miles of steel rebars and 1.7 million cubic yards of concrete. Also the components themselves need rare metals to function. For example the gearbox of a 2MW wind turbine contains about 360 kg of neodymium and about 60kg of dysprosium (http://www.awea.org/).

Other issues:

Solar: Prof. Jian Shuisheng of the Jiatong-University estimates the production of just 6 solar panels requires one ton of coal. This works out to about 300 kgs of coal per square yard of solar panel. This is because the silicon has to be baked at 1200C (http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJF...N200805008.htm).

The manufacture of solar panels lets off some deadly greenhouse gases such as hexafluoroethane (12,000 times stronger than CO2), nitrogen trifluoride (17,000 times stronger than C02), and sulfur hexafluoride (23,000 times stronger than C02). During their manufacture, solar manufacturing plants produce 500 tons of hazardous sludge each per year. This sludge is never included in the solar industry carbon footprint data. Where and how is this sludge disposed of?

The manufacture of solar panels is extremely hazardous also: 5 kg of hydrogen chloride per sq m of solar panel is used to liquefy the metallic silicon. Silicon carbide is used to cut the silicon into wafers. These are extremely hazardous materials and pose a threat not only to the environment, but also to the workers themselves.

Dust, humidity, haze, and heat dramatically affect solar panel output. Solar panels lose up to 1% of their efficiency each year lasting some 20 - 30 years, after which they become toxic waste, containing things like cadmium and other heavy metals. While the cost of the silicon wafers are dropping, they only make up 20% of the installed costs. The expensive power inverters solar panels require break down every 5-10 years and have to be replaced.

Wind: The manufacture of 5, one-megawatt, wind turbines produces 1 ton of radioactive residue and 75 tons of hazardous waste water used to extract and process the needed neodymium. Bear in mind that a typical wind turbine also contains 16 other rare-earth metals (https://www.wind-watch.org). And there is no known replacement for neodymium. During its mining, metals such as arsenic, barium, copper, aluminum, lead and beryllium are released into the air and water.

Also, wind turbines only produce 25% of their rated power output over 90% of the time. This means that fossil fuel plants have to burn fuel on standby in case the wind suddenly dies down. Since this power is intermittent, we would need at least ten times as much solar and wind power to displace one unit of fossil fuel power.

It is possible to build wind turbines without rare earth elements, but doing so increases the complexity, decreases reliability, and increases weight, which in turn means the support structures have to be more massive, all of which results in higher cost.






And electric cars themselves aren't "green". Electric cars need to be light, which means they include a lot of high-performing metals. The lithium in the batteries, for example, is super light and conductive; thatís how you get a lot of energy without adding a lot of weight. Other, rare metals are present throughout the car, mostly in the magnets that are in everything from the headlights to the on-board electronics. These rare metals usually come from environmentally destructive mines. Rare metals only exist in tiny quantities and inconvenient places, so you have to move a lot of earth to get just a little bit, which is definitely not environmentally friendly.

For example: In the Jiangxi rare earth mine in China, rare earths amounted to 0.2 percent of what gets pulled out of the ground. The other 99.8 percent which is now contaminated with toxic chemicals is dumped back into the environment. (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2011/1042/of2011-1042.pdf).

And how and where are the spent batteries going to be disposed of eventually? They can't be recycled.

(Sorry about the long post!)
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Old 5th September 2016, 10:21   #33
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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
And how and where are the spent batteries going to be disposed of eventually? They can't be recycled.

Ok reading your post we are doomed!
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Old 5th September 2016, 14:02   #34
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Originally Posted by Jeeper1941 View Post
Interesting topic, but this has been discussed many times over the years here. I will stick to what I have said before.


And how and where are the spent batteries going to be disposed of eventually? They can't be recycled.
I personally think that electric cars are marginally better than regular cars. And the equation rapidly improves if the source of power is green.

Think of it in cycles. Electric cars that use traditional power end up using the coal cycle (mining, transport and burning), the car making cycle including the battery, and then end of life disposal. Regular cars use the oil cycle (extraction, transport and burning x2 - for production, refining and in each engine), car making and disposal.

Considering that the oil cycle is global, while coal is local, there is a slight advantage for a country like India that has coal but no oil (the equation changes for the Middle East, where the opposite is true). Also things are a little more efficient when coal plants are close to mines to save on transport costs and vagaries. This happens often.

One last thing, base load electricity ie the minimum needed to keep the grid stable can only be provided by a source like coal or nuclear. Renewables suck at this because of their variable nature (unless you have a lot of different types and can switch seamlessly.) The point being that the coal is going to be burnt anyway whether you use it or don't, so electric cars in that sense aren't adding any additional burden on the environment.
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