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Old Sep 08, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Saving The Planet - One little Step At The Time

First of all, if you find this thread to be offensive to your ways please consider it just as constructive criticism for a change.

Just the other weekend I was at the flying park here in Houston, TX. and noticed that 90% of the airplanes had internal combustion engines in them. Not only that we are chocking ourselves and the rest of the life on this planet with our ways of transportation but we are continuing to do so with our hobbies. Technology has advanced enough that every single self indulging toy can be electrically operated. Every little step counts so get on with the program folks.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Where does the electricity come from then?
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 08:32 AM
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The thread is not at all offensive, but it does present me with an opportunity to respond to the idea that electric planes are somehow environmentally better.

While electric planes may be a little cleaner, I think IC planes have a very minor impact on the environment. There is a lot more to think about than just the fuel. What is the impact of making the batteries on the environment? Where and how is the lithium obtained? What are the byproducts of lithium mining and production? Where do the dead batteries wind up? And where does the electricity come from? Nukes, gas, or coal, most likely.

And what about the planes themselves. What deforestation is taking place to get the balsa. What pollution is produced in the manufacturer of the covereing film, or the glue? What about the fuel cost and pollution involved in transporting all these planes from China? And to the LHS? Or fuel to bring the UPS truck to our door with a tiny replacement part in a box?

And finally, how do people get the planes to the field. What about folks who load a giant scale airplane into a trailer and tow it to the field in a big truck or SUV. Would we recommend that they fly only little electric planes that will fit in a Prius.

Hobbies are hobbies. Almost everything we do harms the environment in one way or another. Should we just sit on the couch?

It is fine and good to do what one can to live lightly, but the suggestion that electric planes are somehow a lot more environmentally friendly and therefore people should fly them in lieu of glow/gas seems a little extreme to me.

There are a lot more effective measures people could take to "save the planet" than to worry about the power source of their RC plane. I am sure that if one made a list, the power source for RC planes would be well near the bottom.

Personally, the sound of the IC engine, and the smoke and smell of the the glow fuel adds immensely to the experience. I started with electrics, but one I moved on to glow I rarely fly an electric plane as they just don't "do it for me."
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 08:33 AM
Question gravity.
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You can have my nitro engine when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

And don't pretend your batteries and the methods used in their production aren't highly toxic.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 10:15 AM
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Amen KMKAZE!!!
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 10:45 AM
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I have a sudden rush of anger in the morning after reading the first post. I'd wish 'environmentalists' would do their homework and find their common sense soon.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 10:53 AM
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U2Builder --

Nicely written and well thought out response.

My thoughts:

It's difficult to expend any energy in today's environment without contributing to the so-called carbon footprint. Methanol burns relatively cleanly with CO2 and H2O as a byproduct. Nitromethane adds N2 to the mix, but synthetic oils likely add other pollutants that are known only to the oil manufacturers. Gas burners are, well, gas burners with the associated problems.

However, the drive to the field likely contributes as much to pollution as the actual act of flying the IC planes.

Electrics, while appearing clean at the field, also come with a lot of baggage. Once you add in the inefficiencies in producing electricity, in transmission losses to the home, in charger and battery losses during charging, the ratio of energy-in vs energy-out for reusable packs is not very good. Battery manufacture and disposal add more to the mix.

For gas, nitro and electrics, what we see at the field is only a tiny fraction of the environmental costs for the hobby and making a broad based statement concerning the overall impact is, I believe, a bit misguided.

andrew
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew0820 View Post
Methanol burns relatively cleanly with CO2 and H2O as a byproduct. Nitromethane adds N2 to the mix, but synthetic oils likely add other pollutants that are known only to the oil manufacturers.
That is also very oversimplified. Glow engines run very rich and there are all sorts of partially combusted products in the exhaust.

The OP is simply uninformed of reality, or simply a troll.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u2builder View Post
Almost everything we do harms the environment in one way or another. Should we just sit on the couch?
Why don't we just go back to horse drawn wagons,writing with quills,having the women at the butter churn and spinning wheel all day? And we could have back average life expectancies of 35,a myriad of diseases that kiil and maim, having 16 children so you have farm hands and hobbies like..oh wait, there were no hobbies because you were too busy working to stay alive.

Tree huggers,like the OP, are thier own worst enemy. You want to make electric?? Nuclear is the way to go if you are worried about emissions into the atmoshere. What?? Nuclear is bad because of the "problem" of what to do with the partially spent fuel rods. No, it a problem here in the U.S. because of the envrio's short sighted baloney. We only have to look at France and the recovery program for used nuclear fuel where they pretty much get the last ounce of energy out of it.

There has to be a balance to some degree. Is using the "green agenda" to destroy jobs,raise energy cost or eliminate peoples recreational activites good for the country or world for that matter? "So get on with the program folks" indeed. How about just go away until you learn some more. Oh...and good job on the global warming bit,you almost had us fooled.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 11:20 AM
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As outdoor hobbies go, flying an RC plane, gas, glow or electric, probably has a fairly small overall impact. Most of the impact of most hobbies is probably in transportation to and from the site where the recreation takes place. Of course, hobbies involving large motorized vehicles at the site have an additional impact. RC planes burn a relatively tiny amount of fuel.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 12:01 PM
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When we have to worry about the emissions from our glow or gasoline model engines, we're in real trouble.
My round trip to and from our field is 70 miles, at about 23 MPG, that's about 3 gallons of fuel to get to the field. A gallon of 2 stroke gasoline mix lasts me about a month. Y' gotta keep things in perspective.
Locally, our power is all Hydro or Nuke, we're fighting to keep Vermont Yankee on line for another twenty years. I lived in the 4 mile radius of the Oyster Creek generating station at Forked River, NJ for almost 30 years, which is worse, living near a nuclear plant, or near a coal fired plant that gives off more radiation than the nuclear plant? Working for thirty to forty years in an older Manhattan skyscraper sheathed in Granite will up your odds of certain cancers due to long term low level radiation exposure. Face it folks, nobody gets outta here alive
Pete
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 12:27 PM
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I have a vague recollection that the EPA looked at our IC engine use and decided we were insignificant as an environmental polluter, and thus not in need of regulation. Something to be said for being small and insignificant! I am in no way convinced that electric decreases pollution. Rather it turns diffuse pollution into concentrated pollution which is thus easier to control. There is also the possibility of generating electricity in non polluting ways, which is not yet widely accomplished.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 12:37 PM
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Don't worry Astor123, we won't criticize you for all the smoldering, toxic lithium you lekky's are spewing into the air we breathe.
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Old Sep 08, 2010, 12:45 PM
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My understanding is that the US power grid is much cleaner on average than any form of internal combustion engine used for motive power.
If I were to purchase the Chevy Volt when it becomes available. My consumption of gasoline would be drastically reduced. My local grid power is very green and since you would be charging at night after peak load, it would not be an added burden to the grid. Consider the geopolitical ramifications of converting at least some part of our transportation energy needs to forms of energy produced in North America, as opposed to the middle east. Even if you're using electricity produced by coal fired plants, it's better than gasoline.
My biggest concern with plug-in Hybrid cars is the environmental issues related to the mining and manufacturing of the batteries themselves, not the shifting from gasoline/Diesel to the grid.
Personally, I hope that the Volt succeeds in the market place. I wish I could afford to be an early adopter
Pete
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