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Green Center

Why Go Green?

As population growth greatly strains our finite resources, there are fewer resources available. If we intend to leave our children and grandchildren with the same standard of living we have enjoyed, we must preserve the foundation of that standard of living. We save for college educations, orthodontia, and weddings, but what about saving clean air, water, fuel sources and soil for future generations?

While it's easy to get overwhelmed, it's also simple to begin making a positive impact. As globalization makes the world become smaller, it becomes increasingly easy to see how the lives of people (and plants and animals and ecosystems) everywhere are closely synced up with one another. So toys made in China can affect the quality of life in Europe, pesticides used in Argentina can affect the health of people in the U.S., and greenhouse gas emissions from Australia can affect a diminishing rainforest in Brazil. Going green is going to become more and more important. This page is dedicated to the process of going green and providing information in this regard.

Environmental issues - Fuel consumption and emissions reductions

The hybrid vehicle typically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), resulting in fewer emissions being generated, relying on both the engine and the electric motors for peak power needs, resulting in a smaller engine sized more for average usage rather than peak power usage. A smaller engine can have less internal losses and lower weight.

These savings are primarily achieved by having significant battery storage capacity to store and reuse recaptured energy, especially in stop-and-go traffic. This regenerative braking reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into electricity, shutting down the engine during traffic stops or while coasting, or during other idle periods.

Tires cause mechanical drag, once again making the engine work harder, consuming more fuel. Hybrid cars may use special tires that are more inflated than regular tires and stiffer, or by choice of carcass structure and rubber compound have lower rolling resistance while retaining acceptable grip, and so improving fuel economy.

Hybrid Vehicle Emissions

Hybrid Vehicle emissions today are getting close to or even lower than the recommended level set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The three most popular hybrid vehicles, Honda Civic, Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, set the standards even higher by producing 4.1, 3.5, and 3.5 tons showing a major improvement in carbon dioxide emissions. Hybrid vehicles have made excellent improvements toward the environment in terms of air quality, as compared to those vehicles which are powered strictly by fuel. Due to their small and lightweight size, these current hybrid vehicles use less energy and fuel, which puts out fewer emissions. Hybrid vehicles can reduce air emissions of smog-forming pollutants by up to 90% and cut carbon dioxide emissions in half. Based on the average driving habits of an individual, pollution of these vehicles can be reduced anywhere between 25% to 90%, when you compare them to an everyday gas-powered vehicle. There are also different pollution numbers when you are comparing different brands of hybrid vehicles. Some manufacturers of hybrid vehicles add this technology to their existing models, where as other manufacturers redesign their vehicles with this new technology. 

Environmental impact of hybrid car battery

Though hybrid cars consume less petroleum than conventional cars, there is still an issue regarding the environmental damage of the Hybrid car battery. Today most Hybrid car batteries are one of two types: (1) nickel metal hydride, or (2) lithium ion; both are regarded as more environmentally friendly than lead-based batteries which constitute the bulk of car batteries today. There are many types of batteries. While batteries like lead acid or nickel cadmium are incredibly bad for the environment, the toxicity levels and environmental impact of nickel metal hydride batteries are much lower. 

The Lithium-ion battery has attracted attention due to its potential for use in hybrid electric vehicles. In addition to its smaller size and lighter weight, lithium-ion batteries deliver performance that help to protect the environment with features such as improved charge efficiency without memory effect. In an environment where motor vehicle requirements including lower exhaust emissions and better fuel economy are prevalent, it is anticipated that the practical use of hybrid, electric, and fuel cell vehicles will continue to increase. The batteries also produce higher output (boosting vehicle power), higher efficiency (avoiding wasteful use of electricity), and provides excellent durability, compared with the life of the battery being roughly equivalent to the life of the vehicle. 

Additionally, use of lithium-ion batteries reduces the overall weight of the vehicle and also achieves improved fuel economy of 30% better than gasoline-powered vehicles with a consequent reduction in CO2 emissions helping to prevent global warming. The lithium-ion batteries supplied by Hitachi are flourishing in a wide range of different applications including cars, buses, commercial vehicles and trains. Electric vehicles that have the ability to be  recharged from an owner’s main power supply are now available in several global automotive markets. When these vehicles are charged overnight, which is less costly than charging the vehicle during the day in Japan, the expense is about one-ninth of the cost for fueling a gasoline powered vehicle.

Hybrid Engine

When the term hybrid vehicle is used, it most often refers to a Hybrid electric vehicle. These encompass such vehicles as the AHS2 (Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, and the Saturn Vue), Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid and others. A petroleum-electric hybrid most commonly uses internal combustion engines (generally gasoline or Diesel engines, powered by a variety of fuels) and electric batteries to power electric motors. There are many types of petroleum-electric hybrid drivetrains, from Full hybrid to Mild hybrid, which offer varying advantages and disadvantages.

While liquid fuel/electric hybrids date back to the late 1800s, the braking regenerative hybrid was invented by David Arthurs, an electrical engineer from Springdale, Arkansas in 1978–79. The plug-in-electric-vehicle (PEV) is becoming more and more common.

Some electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and overhead electrical power depending on conditions (see dual mode bus). Instead vehicles are built with two, parallel, fuel systems feeding one engine. Power-assist mechanisms for bicycles and other human-powered vehicles are also included. 

Series hybrid

The Series hybrid is one of the newer technologies available in today's new car market. The fuel engine power is exclusively used to generate electricity and not used directly for drive wheel propulsion. The Chevrolet Volt is a series plug-in hybrid.

A series hybrid uses an electric motor, which is powered by a single-speed internal combustion engine. This engine can do any combination of the following: charge a battery, charge a capacitor, and directly power the electric motor. When large amounts of power and torque are required, the electric motor can draw electricity from a combination of batteries, capacitors, and the generator. There are three main options for series hybrid electric motors: Permanent Magnet, 3-Phase AC Induction, Multi-Phase AC Induction. A Multi-Phase AC Induction motor (called a Chorus Motor) co-opts the harmonics that limit motor performance, which means that it can smoothly change from behaving like a high-torque low-speed motor to behaving like a low-torque high-speed motor, without the need for efficiency robbing physical gearing that would be required to compensate for a 3-Phase AC Induction motors lower power density. Furthermore, by co-opting the harmonics that limit standard motor performance, greater torque can be generated by this motor; up to 10 times the torque of a standard motor. 

Plug-in hybrid electrical vehicle (PHEV)

Another subtype added to the hybrid market is the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV is usually a general fuel-electric (parallel or serial) hybrid with increased energy storage capacity (usually Li-ion batteries). As with pure electric vehicles, the total emissions saving, for example in CO2 terms, is dependent upon the energy source of the electricity generating company.

Fuel cell, electric hybrid

The fuel cell hybrid is generally an electric vehicle equipped with a fuel cell. The fuel cell as well as the electric battery are both power sources, making the vehicle a hybrid. Fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel and power the electric battery when it is depleted. The Chevrolet Equinox FCEV, Ford Edge Hyseries Drive and Honda FCX are examples of a fuel cell/electric hybrid.

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