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Is Model Engineering "green"?

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Peter G. Shaw01/12/2021 11:17:52
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I have to say that whenever I hear, or read about, self-appointed pundits telling me what to do, then my instinctive reaction is to ignore them. And when it comes to that Swedish brat, who, apparently, has three mental problems (source Wikipedia), and has skipped school (so why weren't her parents prosecuted?) and thus could be said to have no ideas on how to counteract any problems, well, words fail me.

Now let it be understood that this does not mean that I am a so-called climate change denier. What it means is that I do not trust these people. Indeed, my memory stretching back over the last 65 years or so does indeed suggest that heavy snowfall winters have considerably decreased, hence something is going on, but what?

So, are we green? Well, if it comes to managing to repair broken equipment, then perhaps we are. But at what cost? What about all the resources used in buying our equipment? Is it better to scrap the broken item or to spend (waste?) resources on buying equipment to repair it?

And what about recently when I updated my computing equipment. The old ones still worked, albeit slowly. Should I have updated it? Perhaps not.

Similar argument over home heating. Apparently following the recent storm, there are some poor souls who will not be reconnected to the electricity grid until Friday which will make over a week without electric power, and hence no heating, washing or cooking facilities. And yet we are being told that we have to changeover to electricity for everything. How many of these people will now be rethinking their heating/cooking arrangements? For example, we had a long power cut some years ago, and we are all electric. As it happens we had (and still have) a coal fire so we were ok for both heating and hot water. But cooking was a problem - we now have a 2 burner + grill camping cooker which will work off our caravan gas bottles. Do these zealots really expect me to shiver and freeze in a similar situation? Would they shiver and freeze in the same situation? I rather suspect not, indeed I rather suspect that all these "greenies" live somewhere where major storm disturbances will only slightly affect them.

Sorry folks, rant over.

Peter G. Shaw

Tony Pratt 101/12/2021 11:37:54
2024 forum posts
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We have all heard the saying 'don't put all your eggs in one basket [electricity]'indecision

Tony

Samsaranda01/12/2021 11:45:38
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Peter, your rant reminded me of the hurricane in 87, we live on the south coast so we were in the eye of the storm so to speak, had just moved into our house and everything was electric excepting our gas central heating. The storm knocked out our electrics for three days, so no heating because the gas relies on electricity for the controls, no cooking because stove was electric and of course no lights after dark. Our house fortunately had a fireplace which I soon resurrected to working status so we had limited heating, ever since that day the fireplace has always been a working one, currently has an inset woodburner which we use all winter. Cooking was achieved by a camping gas stove, a relic of our camping days, surprising how creative camping stove cooking can be. Anyway looking at green credentials I agree with most correspondents that our hobby is not very green. Looking at the long term prospects of our fragile world I fear that the recent climate conference will be as productive as previous ones have been, nothing much will change, those who run the world we live in are too scared to make unpopular changes because effectively they will be voting themselves out of a job. Will be interesting to review progress or lack of when the next climate conference takes place, they will still be wringing their hands saying the world is doomed and I bet nothing changes. Dave W

blowlamp01/12/2021 11:58:39
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I remember the good old days, when we only had to worry about the hole in the Ozone Layer and Acid Rain.

derek hall 101/12/2021 12:25:39
232 forum posts

Not forgetting in the 1970's, the impending ice age...

Regards

Derek

SillyOldDuffer01/12/2021 13:26:05
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Posted by Peter G. Shaw on 01/12/2021 11:17:52:

I have to say that whenever I hear, or read about, self-appointed pundits telling me what to do, then my instinctive reaction is to ignore them. ...

Do these zealots really expect me to shiver and freeze in a similar situation? Would they shiver and freeze in the same situation? I rather suspect not, indeed I rather suspect that all these "greenies" live somewhere where major storm disturbances will only slightly affect them.

Sorry folks, rant over.

Peter G. Shaw

So who are these 'self-appointed pundits'? In the UK, its the Royal Institute, the Chief Government Scientific Advisor, and all our major scientific universities. Hardly a bunch of swivelled eyed loons! Similar across the world; the scientific consensus is almost total whether academic, private or government funded.

Zealots is also unhelpful language! Dismissing anyone who cares about the future as a 'Greenie' or 'Tree Hugger' is plain daft in my opinion. The future isn't about individuals shivering after a power cut, it's about global disruption of weather, agriculture, trade, and pretty much everything we hold dear.

Unfortunately humans are really bad at understanding risk. We comprehend small inconveniences like local power cuts, but not the effect of truly massive change caused by raising the average temperature of the atmosphere by 2 to 4°C during this century. What's happening in Cumbria today is tiny compared with failing to manage Green issues.

Nothing lasts forever. The future is deeply uncertain due to Global Warming and diminishing resources. Problems that can't be managed by carrying on as we are at the moment. Like it or not, change is inevitable.

I'm in favour of maintaining a high standard of living by adapting to the new reality. Better to find answers than go into denial. What's the alternative? I hope it's not whinging about schoolgirls and believing all is well despite uncomfortable evidence!

Dave

Michael Gilligan01/12/2021 14:44:37
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 30/11/2021 18:40:36:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 30/11/2021 18:21:27:

[…]

Helps to put numbers on problems. This graph shows the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere each year by mankind since 1750.

co2pa.jpg

.

Simple, Honest question, Dave …

Do you have any idea at what point on that graph the data start being trustworthy ?

MichaelG.

.

Bump ^^^

MichaelG.

Keith Wyles01/12/2021 15:32:39
110 forum posts

With more recent interest in green hydrogen perhaps not all eggs are going into the same basket, even though its [production does rely on electricity.

SillyOldDuffer01/12/2021 17:46:14
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 01/12/2021 14:44:37:
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 30/11/2021 18:40:36:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 30/11/2021 18:21:27:

[…]

Helps to put numbers on problems. This graph shows the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere each year by mankind since 1750.

co2pa.jpg

.

Simple, Honest question, Dave …

Do you have any idea at what point on that graph the data start being trustworthy ?

...

Well, we're talking about commercially accounted industrial production covering both coal and oil. Profit and loss, tax, imports and exports, wages, transport records, insurance were all documented more-or-less completely.

Some of this stuff is on the web. Here's an example chosen at random from the excellent Durham Mining Museum website. It's production from the East Pontop Colliery (near Newcastle), which closed in 1930, together with the number of employees.

eastpontop.jpg

One chilling feature of the Durham Website is that accidents were much less well documented than production. The website lists 13 fatalities for this colliery, but the list is a work in progress. It's assembled by volunteers searching through newspapers, death certificates, and family records rather than pulled from well-organised book-keeping. Unlike the immediate need to account for money, the requirement to keep proper accident records developed slowly over time.

The website also shows what the geology of most mines was, and from that information the UK reserves were pretty much fully quantified before 1900. This example is E-Pit Heaton. It shows three seams of coal, one 6" thick, one 10" and the only one worth digging out was 6 feet thick 468 feet underground. Quite a lot of the coal left in the UK lies in these thin seams, and it might always be too expensive to recover.

heaton.jpg

There are no massive coal reserves under the UK.

I agree the CO2 numbers can't be spot on, for example I don't know if they include gas from Centralia and other underground fires, or if production figures from Soviet Russia were truthful, or if every mine and well in the world was included. Nonetheless I think the picture is reasonable considering the scale is in billions of tonnes.

Dave

Michael Gilligan01/12/2021 17:53:47
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20289 forum posts
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Thanks for replying, Dave

Unfortunately, I remain very suspicious of ‘assertive’ but unsubstantiated plots which conveniently demonstrate what the author wants us to see.

Some ‘uncertainty’ bands would make it far more convincing.

MichaelG.

.

P.S. __ What’s the source of that graph ?

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 01/12/2021 17:56:52

Andy Stopford01/12/2021 20:10:37
165 forum posts
25 photos

There have been a lot of comments re. the recent storm, power cuts etc. to the effect of "And now they want us to switch to electric heating. No thanks, I'll stick with gas"

So if there's a power cut, they'll still be able to run the gas boiler. Best of luck with that.

edit: In the 1970s few/no serious climate scientists believed in the "new ice age" scenario, this seems to have been mostly in the imagination of (non-scientifically trained) journalists.

Edited By Andy Stopford on 01/12/2021 20:13:50

Michael Gilligan01/12/2021 22:36:45
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20289 forum posts
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This is a little more explanatory :

b9235342-2016-46f8-9a28-aba6a37e0831.jpeg

Ref: __ **LINK**

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide

MichaelG.

Grindstone Cowboy01/12/2021 22:48:06
894 forum posts
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I expect the scientists know better than me, but if I was asked to measure carbon dioxide, I wouldn't choose to do it on the side of an active volcano...

Rob

mgnbuk02/12/2021 10:29:31
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I would have expected a bigger "hump" in the CO2 graph between 1938ish and 1945 - huge industrial production from largely coal based manufacturing + very high fuel & explosives usage + huge amounts of destruction.

Talking to the crew of the Canadian Lancaster fund raising to cover their fuel cost some years ago at Oshkosh, they used 50 US gallons of high octane fuel per engine per hour travelling unloaded - we sent 1000 bomber raids of heavily loaded Lancasters, Halifaxes etc. regularly. And a period documentary about a US B29 raid on Japan I watched recently quoted 7000 US gallons per aircraft for the round trip & there were over 500 B29s on the raid + a substantial Mustang escort force & these raids were also conducted regularly.

Such levels of fuel consumption alone over a 6 year period worldwide + ground force & naval usage would surely have caused an emissions "blip", yet the graph shows a dip just after 1930 & not much of a climb immediately thereafter ?

Nigel B.

Nigel Graham 202/12/2021 10:57:41
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Interesting point, why an apparently small effect from WW2.

The 1930s saw a very large Depression which might account for the slight drop in CO2 levels, and there is a vague hump that might be from the War. It's possible the measurements of the time were not themselves not sufficiently accurate and international for large but short-term, temporary changes to be very apparent. If any were taken, of course.

To some extent too, wartime use of fuel for non-important purposes would have dropped drastically, possibly off-setting some of the military uses and effects. WW2 was also followed in many countries by the "Austerity Years", again reducing fuel use.

It looks almost as if economic depressions had more effect than the wars and destruction.

What is particularly significant though is the overall rise, and its steepening in the 1960s, combined with the traces merging to show human activity having become the primary source of atmospheric CO2 overall since WW2.

==

Ice-cores are a major source of palaeoclimate evidence. Another important one is cave deposits, by analysing sediments left by streams, and layers in calcite (stalagmite). Because caves take hundred of thousands of years to form, with some being possibly a few million years old, and their deeper conditions are fairly stable, they act as natural climate-evidence archives.

SillyOldDuffer02/12/2021 12:51:18
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Posted by mgnbuk on 02/12/2021 10:29:31:

I would have expected a bigger "hump" in the CO2 graph between 1938ish and 1945 - huge industrial production from largely coal based manufacturing + very high fuel & explosives usage + huge amounts of destruction.

Talking to the crew of the Canadian Lancaster fund raising to cover their fuel cost some years ago at Oshkosh, they used 50 US gallons of high octane fuel per engine per hour travelling unloaded - we sent 1000 bomber raids of heavily loaded Lancasters, Halifaxes etc. regularly.

...

Such levels of fuel consumption alone over a 6 year period worldwide + ground force & naval usage would surely have caused an emissions "blip", yet the graph shows a dip just after 1930 & not much of a climb immediately thereafter ?

Nigel B.

Not necessarily - most countries involved in WW2 saw massive dips in civilian consumption as their economies were directed into warfare rather than business as usual.

A 1000 bomber raid might sound like major fuel consumption, but they weren't all that common. Yes, lots of activity, but WW2 was small compared with the growth of commercial aviation. This source quotes an average in 2017 of 9,728 planes carrying 1,270,406 people being in the air all the time. And many of these are long-haul jets.

It may seem surprising, but the energy consumed by WW2 was relatively small compared with what's happened since. For example, in 1951 more than 80% of UK households didn't own a car. Today ownership averages about 1.4 cars per household - about 40,000,000 of them, averaging 10000 miles per year each.

Worldwide, about 1.5 billion cars are on the road. A little over 3 new cars are made every second.

Dave

mgnbuk02/12/2021 13:06:54
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WW2 was also followed in many countries by the "Austerity Years", again reducing fuel use.

But also a time of extensive rebuilding of damaged infrastructure & increased manufacturing effort (Export or Die ? ) plus the US & USSR expanding military production & excercising, so would the immediate post war period have seen much of a reduction ?

One graph that I did come across that seems to follow the trend of SoD's example suprisingly closely is this one :

world-population-by-world-regions-post-1820.jpg

So one may conclude that the increase in emissions appears to follow the increase in population quite directly ?

Other organisms in the natural world that expand at a rate that their environment cannot sustain tend to see rather dramatic reductions in their numbers - I doubt very much that science can do much to prevent a similar correction taking place for the human organsm at some point, even if the various "powers that be" could actually agree on a sustained course of action to try to alleviate any climatic effects.

And I equally doubt that my stopping my workshop activities would have much effect either (to try to get back to the original question ).

Nigel B.

John Abson02/12/2021 13:32:59
14 forum posts

This article in Grist outlines the results of research into arguments denying climate change, in particular how denials are diminishing and criticism of solutions increasing.

Closer to home, has ME thought of using biodegradable mailing bags rather that polythene? My Chartered Quality Institute journal does, so it would appear to be perfectly possible .

Mike Poole02/12/2021 13:40:49
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I doubt that the impact of all the Model Engineering or home workshop activity could be measured even if we all stopped partaking. It is also unlikely that we would do nothing if we gave up engineering. Many of the tools are quite likely to serve multiple generations. As devastating as the Coronavirus has been especially on a personal level for those affected it has made a tiny dent in the world population. This has probably already been compensated for by people in lockdown engaging in their favourite pastime and I am not thinking model engineering. I suspect that the Earth will survive with quite a diverse flora and fauna even if man does not. Man has had a wonderful gift of a beautiful planet so lets hope we can succeed in living in harmony with all the inhabitants, so far it has not gone well.

Mike

Clock polisher02/12/2021 19:25:48
22 forum posts
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Good evening,

As I sit in my small workshop, in a house that uses about 24 MW of gas and 3 MW of electricity each year I feel very guilty about my working career.

I spent 35 years as a combustion engineer at a steel production facility where that amount of energy wouldn't keep the pilot light of a boiler running. The place as a whole could use more than 50 GW a week.

This brings me on to a subject that seems to be sadly lacking from any government plans for the energy future of Britain.

Steel undergoes a multitude of processes to turn either iron ore or scrap metal into the material we all take for granted. Many of those processes use gas. Whilst it is theoretically possible to do some of these with electricity, in practice it's impossible, the infrastructure would cost a king's ransom.

They could however use hydrogen.

All that I see happening is the government will use this to tax heavy industry out of existence in this country, which will push steel production further around the globe into other countries with less stringent pollution rules.

What then?

regards,

David

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