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Tungsten Light Bulb:Is That a Carbon Footprint on Your Ass?
Author:Ted Twie…    Source:Ted Twietmeyer    Update Time:2009-12-11 10:58:29

Tungsten Light Bulb:Is That a Carbon Footprint on Your Ass?


 

Is That a Carbon Footprint on Your Ass? Or Greenie Madness

 

© 2008 Ted Twietmeyer

 

Do you feel the pain of that black iron boot yet? Have you looked in the mirror for that footprint on your butt? You might be surprised at what you’ll see. We’re going to take a closer look at breathing in abrasives, screw-in fluorescent lamps, Freon and hybrid cars and see what really makes sense.


 

All over the world, carbon footprint madness has reached epidemic proportions. The green people (greenies) everywhere have lost their way, along with their minds and common sense. I haven’t been able to pin down precisely who started all this carbon fear-mongering nonsense, but it has escalated way out of control. Many people even promote it incessantly without realizing what they are swearing allegiance to. Even though 32,000 scientists recently signed a proclamation that global warming is nonsense, and the US Army admitted the problem is coming from the Sun itself.

 

GRINDING AWAY AT YOUR LUNGS

 

Chemicals like barium oxide and aluminum oxide now being sprayed into the atmosphere are helping to create the mother of all carbon footprints and accelerate the warming of our planet. This madness is beyond all comprehension, right there overhead outside almost every day in plain sight, yet it seems to be almost totally ignored by the greenies. Perhaps because one Dr. Teller wrote a paper stating it would work, it must be so.

 

Even worse, aluminum oxide is an abrasive which is part of grinding and cutting disks for power tools. Users of abrasive disks of all kinds are strongly advised to protect their health by use of a respirator or surgical mask to prevent inhaling the dust. Does aluminum oxide sound healthy for your lungs and respiratory tract? But you could step outside and breathe it in without even knowing it.

 

Carbon footprints are a measure of how much virtual land a person requires (in addition to about two square feet of space someone occupies when standing.) According to experts on a television show series that ran on BBC America, a typical carbon footprint for a family of four often occupies not just the property their home sits on, but it overshadows the space of several homes on all four sides around them. (Another prime example of being sent on a guilt-trip-via-television)

 

SCREW-IN LIGHT BULBS SHOW SCREWY THINKING

 

Greenie fanatics are running around like headless chickens wielding screw-in fluorescent light bulbs, busily replacing incandescent lamps everywhere as fast as they can. Apparently they don’t take much time to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom until they’ve accomplished their mission.

 

Yet few people who use these lamps understand the health hazard of breaking one by dropping it, or the complex recycling issues. The safest cleanup method does not use a vacuum cleaner because of the poisonous phosphor which coats the glass inside these lamps.

 

Fig. 1 – Innocent (?) common made-in-China screw-in fluorescent lamp and circuit board. Every time you replace one of these lamps, everything you see here is thrown away. It doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is – the basic design is still the same. [1]

 

Greenies rant about recycling and how wonderful fluorescent lamps are. So let’s take a closer look at the recycling issues of these lamps vs. Edison’s incandescent lamp:

 

Fluorescent lamp                                           Incandescent Lamp

 

Glass - has toxic phosphor coating                    Glass - non-toxic

Gas - contains toxic mercury vapor                   Argon – noble gas you breathe all the time

Plastic housing - non-recyclable                        

                                                                        Tungsten - filament can be recycled

                                                                        Fine metal filament support - recyclable

Screw base - aluminum (recycles)                     Screw base - aluminum (recycles)

Solder - recycles                                              Solder - recycles

Ferrite coils

Capacitors

Carbon resistors

Epoxy coated integrated circuit rectifier

Transistors                                                       no electronics

Non-recyclable epoxy coated components

Circuit board – epoxy/paper composite

Copper on the circuit board (recycles)             no copper

 

Materials not recycled:              10                    0

Materials that can be recycled:   3                     7

 

TABLE 1

 

We can readily see that recycling fluorescent lamps present a big headache. That is, for everyone but companies which manufacture lamps by the millions each year. These lamps save power during its lifetime when compared to a incandescent lamp, but at what cost? Fluorescent lamp housings are glued or ultrasonically welded together, and will need to be forced apart by specialized machinery for hand disassembly. Mercury vapor gas extraction and reuse is also a difficult issue, since the gas will be heavily contaminated with metals from the lamp electrodes.

 

There is no efficient, cost effective way to recycle all the toxic materials in fluorescent lamps. But an incandescent lamp is 100% RECYCLABLE. Even a burned-out filament in an incandescent lamp can be reused for other purposes when melted down. Tungsten is among the hardest of all the elements, and is often used for tool bits to machine hard materials like stainless steel. Like aluminum, tungsten can also be recycled.

 

AN ALMOST UNHEARD OF SENSIBLE FLUORESCENT LAMP

 

In 1991 Philips produced a fluorescent lamp that did not use electrodes. Operating at 2.65MHz, it inductively excites the gas into a plasma which glows, and the phosphor converts the ultraviolet light to white light. Lamp lifetime is on the order of 60,000 hours. This is about 60x the lifetime of an incandescent lamp, and several times the lifetime of today's commonly used screw-in fluorescent lamps

 

Fig. 2 – How the Philips lamp works inside [2]

When this lamp is recycled, no electronics are discarded with it.

 

Fig. 3 – Simple lamp components [2]

A – Replaceable lamp bulb consists only of a glass envelope, gas and phosphor

B – Power coupler coil lamp base

C – Power supply

 

In today’s screw-in fluorescent lamp, when it burns out the lamp bulb, base and the lamp ballast are all thrown away. In the Philips design, each component is separate. Considering that electronic circuits can have lifetimes on the order of 20 years, it’s certainly wasteful to throw away working electronics. Yet this is what the greenies have wrapped their arms around and embraced instead of a sensible lighting technology like the one designed by Philips. The Philips' design has a longer lifetime, since there are no metal electrodes in contact with the gas. Gas excitation is accomplished inductively as shown in Fig. 1.

 

Now compare the parts of the Philips lamp that require recycling to those of commonly used lamps in Table 1. This 17 year old design has only 3 hard to recycle components, compared to 10 in today’s screw-in fluorescent lamps. But where have you seen any of these Philip lamp types in use? Yet these lamps were being sold about 17 years ago. A full data sheet on this technology and installation/mounting instructions is at [2].

 

One might compare the battle between these two lamp technologies, like the battle 20 years ago between Beta and VHS. At that time, the inferior VHS tape format won the battle. Today, highly non-cyclable lamps have won over other sensible designs like that of Philips.

 

FREON FOOLISHNESS

 

We saw the madness of the 80’s and 90’s Freon fear-mongering. Civilized life today is impossible without Freon 12.  Think about the size of the dairy, meat and frozen food sections in a supermarket. But Freon has been charged and convicted of damaging the ozone layer. New refrigerants like R134a designed for use in modified and new vehicles became the new standard. And voila! R134a was all ready for use when all this happened!

 

So who made the biggest bucks from the Freon scare? Chemical companies like Dupont DeNemours and others who developed the refrigerant. Did the switch to R134a more than 10 years ago stop the damage to the ionosphere? Of course not. Has anyone stopped demonizing Freon even to this very day? No.

 

The word circulating about R134a in the 80’s was that “it still hurts the ozone layer, just not as much.” And that isn’t all – since R134a has a very different chemical composition than Freon, auto air conditioners no longer get as cold as they once did when using Freon.

 

If you get into your new car on a hot day, turn the AC on full blast and wonder why it takes so long to cool down, that’s the reason.

 

Ordinary Freon 12 was once as ubiquitous as motor oil. It was readily available for about $5.00 a pound in auto stores before the scare. When word that Freon 12 was being outlawed hit the streets, the refrigerant quickly rose to about $100.00 a pound in about a year.

 

But the refrigerant panic has earned untold billions for the refrigeration manufacturing and maintenance industry when many people dashed out and converted their vehicles to R134a. And of course, all new vehicles were required to use R134a, too. These are probably the same people running around and replacing recyclable incandescent light bulbs with non-recyclable fluorescent tube lamps today.

 

In the 1980s it cost about $600.00 (or more) per vehicle to do a conversion to R134a. The evaporator, expansion valve and capillary tube in automotive air conditioning systems had to be replaced, and the system purged and recharged. That same conversion would probably cost more than $1,000 today. Perhaps the “R” in R134a really stands for RIDICULOUS.

 

CARBON MADNESS AND WHO BENEFITS

 

So what about that confounded carbon footprint? You can easily minimize your footprint with one simple step – just stop breathing. But if while holding your breath you are sitting in your heated or air-conditioned home, you still have a footprint. Your cursed footprint only ends when you’re six feet under.

 

Much of this carbon obsession stems from the controversial Kiyoto protocol. That protocol proposes taxing anything and everything that generates carbon dioxide – including people. That’s right – we’d be taxed for breathing! There is one big question that remains unanswered - where all that tax money goes. And who will benefit from it? Most likely it will ultimately end up in the pockets of a big corporation, either in North America or Europe. And a big corporation somewhere is probably behind the protocol.

 

Today, hydrogen is now all the rage. Yet most hydrogen car proponents insanely promote the conversion of gasoline into hydrogen, instead of using water. And it could literally use any kind of water. Even seawater would be a far better source of hydrogen than cracking gasoline and we wouldn’t be using precious drinking water. The other benefit is that when hydrogen burns, it turns back into distilled water so pure you can drink it.

 

Converting gasoline or other oil-based hydrocarbons into hydrogen keeps the all-powerful oil companies happy. No wonder hybrid cars are so well promoted, instead of all-electric vehicles. Technology has already proven that an electric vehicle with a 300 mile range can be built. Such was the vehicle Ford recalled and destroyed giving no explanation.

 

Oddly enough, you really hear very little complaint from the greenies and carbon footprint complainers about converting gasoline and hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen. What’s key word here? Hydrocarbon. So much for creating a smaller footprint. As long as big oil has the power and influence it has today for the foreseeable future, there will be gasoline.

 

HYBRID VEHICLE PUT TO THE TEST

 

People who buy hybrid vehicles often rejoice and brag about their mileage. But is it real? I found this all hyped-up BS, and a two week research experiment last year proved it. I test drove an almost brand-new Honda Civic (probably a 2006 model) for two weeks owned by a friend who went out of town.

 

First off, this Honda has been promoting mileage on the order of 50 miles/per gallon. In reality, most of my driving is on an interstate with a stretch of highway which has very light traffic in the morning and at night. This highway is also relatively flat. It should be nearly ideal testing territory for this gas-sipping (?) wonder.

 

The vehicle has a graphic backlit LCD dashboard with a bar graph showing battery charge. A graphic fuel gauge display can be changed to show miles per gallon with the press of a button. It also has a lithium battery which is so small and flat, that it’s actually mounted to the back of the rear seat. A very small electric motor (you could easily hold in one hand) is mounted on the engine and drives the main belt. The engine itself is a tiny 1.2L, which has an incredible maze of pipes and tubing surrounding it. You begin by starting the engine in the usual way with a conventional gas engine powered vehicle.

 

During normal driving, the battery charge indicator bar graph always hovered around 20 to 50% of full charge. In city driving, I could not charge the battery to 100% (more on how that works later.) The system uses the lithium battery with even the slightest of acceleration. On long, straight stretches of highway the vehicle charges the lithium battery as well as during braking.

 

At traffic lights and stop signs the engine shuts off completely. A small touch of the gas pedal and the engine starts back up instantly, apparently by using the electric assist motor since you do not hear the starter motor at all. Normal acceleration when a traffic light turns green causes the miles per gallon display to plummet to about 10, and you can watch the battery charge bar graph display drop a notch or two. It has about 8 to 10 bars on the bar graph for battery charge. (Since the battery could never reach full charge, I never could see all the bars.)

 

Here’s what I found after recording mileage vs. gasoline consumption: This complex, very expensive vehicle only reached about 30 miles per gallon and no more, no matter how conservatively I drove and accelerated (which also resulted in a line of angry drivers behind me.) This vehicle’s performance isn’t actually any better than any a conventional compact car. But long term hybrid car maintenance has a whopping hidden expense.

 

During one drive home late one night from work, I drove exceedingly carefully in an attempt to charge the lithium battery to 100%. I could not do it despite driving steadily for 15 miles. Battery charge only reached about 80% when I had to come to a stop at the highway exit ramp. Braking gave it one last extra charge burst, but that didn’t help. Perhaps one must drive about 30 miles or more to fully charge the lithium battery and never accelerate once to pass anything...even a tractor.

 

Is there another down side to all this mileage paranoia? Lithium battery replacement will cost car owners more than $1,000.00 every few years when the battery no longer holds sufficient charge. This is similar to a camcorder battery. These batteries lose recording time with age, and use the same basic battery chemistry only on a smaller scale. And of course, the hybrid vehicle also has a conventional car battery for the gas engine. That too, will need to be replaced periodically as well.

 

Everything shows that the electric motor part of this vehicle actually acts more like a power assist to help an undersize engine make the car useable. So what’s the point of adding all the expense of an electric motor, battery and control system in the first place? And thus we have the practical nature of at least one popular hybrid car.

 

REAL RECYCLING DATES BACK ABOUT 100 YEARS

 

Ironically, there is little doubt the automotive industry that was the first to create recycling. This dates back almost to the beginning of cars and trucks when alternators, starters, radiators, transmissions and engines were rebuilt over and over with low cost replacement parts. But vehicle recycling goes back even further than just rebuilding parts. Today, automotive recyclers have massive machines that shred an entire vehicle of almost any size. The resulting scrap is separated using magnetic belts, compressed air, water, gravity and other methods. Metallic scrap is melted down to make new vehicles and plastics shredded are recycled. The only part of a vehicle that isn’t reused today is the stuffing found in seat cushions. That’s better than 99% recycling!

 

But there’s always someone or some company lurking around to profit from fear-mongering, and the carbon footprint paranoia seems to be the latest madness. And all this madness has become very big business, too. Common sense packed its bags many years ago and left the planet. Does all this mean that I’m against recycling? Not at all, in fact I do recycling with my trash each week.

 

We need to stop the carbon-madness fear-mongering and that sends ordinary people on virtual guilt trips about every detail of their living habits. With a world economy on the brink of collapse, none of us needs more guilt or excessive taxes to deal with than we already have.

 

And who wants to pay a tax just to breathe?

 

It’s simply a tax just for being alive.

 

Ted Twietmeyer


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