Monday, December 14, 2015

Carbon Loading

After Paris, there is a lot of talk about Carbon Production, leading perhaps to a Carbon Tax here in Canada.

I had looked at this a couple of years back:
Carbon and the Forge
At that point I was primarily interested in the amount of C02 loading from the various fuel options in a blacksmithing operation. I used my own consumptions and choices at that time for the comparisons.

I (attempted) to run the numbers for a 'typical' year of operations, using the totals from my own 2015 records

Gasoline = approximately 3000 litres
(this worked back from actual $$ spent, using $1 CDN per litre as a very rough average cost)

Coal - approximately 1000 lbs
(this very rough, as I purchase in 1500 lb lots, as needed only)

Propane - close estimate 800 lbs
(this fairly accurate, based on the number of 40 lb tank fills made)

Charcoal - approximately 300 lbs
(this a bit of a WAG, based on three iron smelts per year, each at 100 lbs each)

Ok - Now the fun starts.
There may be some simple chart out there converting fuel type and amount into 'best possible' CO2. I certainly could not find one. In the end I had (again) to make several conversions between pounds / litres / US gallons * ....
What I came up with:

Gasoline - CO2 lbs per US gallon = 19.6 : use total = 15,523 lbs CO2

Coal (Bituminous) - CO2 lbs per ton = 4931 : use total = 2465 lbs CO2

Propane - CO2 lbs per US gallon = 12.7 : use total = 1070 lbs CO2

Charcoal - CO2 lbs per lb (dry oak, molecule based) = 2.9 : use total = 880 lbs CO2

There is a small amount of Kerosene and split dry firewood used around the shop, but here considered too small to add.

TOTAL CARBON DIOXIDE LOADING = 19,938 lbs / about 10 tons ( just over 9 metric tons)

I note that this year I did not make as many long range working trips (driving). Even still, gasoline use is by far the majority (roughly 3/4). As a rural resident, and involved in a small business, I'm not sure how I could easily reduce there.**

As a comparison, I did take a look at a 'Household Footprint' calculator (which is almost so vague to of little use). Outside of the workshop, the major 'carbon' expense here would be related to heating. At Wareham, this is primarily electric - which plugging in the total $$ last year suggests a CO2 load of 12 tons (At this location is mainly via Bruce Nuclear. Wareham is at the north end of the Shelburne wind turbine complex, but honestly I have no idea how much that actually contributes to the local power grid.
I also burn about a full bush cord of locally cut firewood every year for additional heating. ( An estimate on that is 6,670 lbs CO2 produced)

This suggests a total of 15 + tons CO2 from the Household side.
(There would be some additional amount from the food purchase made over the year. Economics here dictate there is very little 'new' purchasing - Used items and 'from the dump'  are the norm.)

So - what this all comes to is that the actual forge fuels contribute by far the smallest  portion to my own personal 'carbon load'

* I had originally stumbled on a USA Environmental Protection Agency set of tables, but through doing one thing after another, lost the specific link. These totals are taken from my working notes (sorry to the 'evidence' hounds)

** I own two (virtually 'classic') vehicles :
2003 Chev Astro, cargo, with a 4.3 L six cylinder
1997 Honda Odyssey, basic, with a 2.1 L four cylinder
This year 3/4 of the distance has been using the smaller engine Odyssey - and it is virtually all highway driving.
Question :  Admittedly an older version is most likely to be less efficient, and thus generating more CO2 per litre / kilometer. But against that is the 'production' energy / carbon cost of a new vehicle. Which is, in the final accounting, the lower carbon impact?

No comments:


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE