Diesel-testing & Nox considerations/the way of the past...?

Discussion in 'Off topic' started by arnis, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. arnis

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    When I need to start a car in a garage, I open the gate. Works every time.
    In case of remote start a remote for garage door opener is also needed.
    Those days are gone when cars will poison you if you keep them running in closed room
    (I mean only latest vehicles, not 2005 GMC). Khmkhm.. Monkeygate - emotional BS... as always.
    Like it's the first time things are being tested on mice and monkeys.
    Reality: each year, 100 millions are "tested". Monkeys included.
     
  2. Archaebald

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    In many countries, experiments causing discomfort, pain, or death (which is the normal outcome of animal trials, these animals usually dont retire as someones pet...) to another living being are considered as the last resort, after all other alternatives been exhausted, and only allowed if the knowledge generated is of substantial benefit for humanity, society or the environment. In this case, the study was clearly superfluous because the engine that was used in the experiment had been manipulated and was not representative of "normal" engines of this type. Hence, the the ecological validity of the results and conclusions is low. Moreover, as the study was designed, it did not increase our knowledge on the risks of NOx, particles and the numerous other organic compounds that derive from combustion of diesel. Rather, the main purpose of the "study" seems to have been to generate fake results for VW's infomercials. Thus, the study was deeply unethical, regardless if you take a
    moral, scientific, emotional, or legal perspective on it. I think dismissing this critisism as BS would be a mistake.

    As a positive side-effect however, I think we can expect this kind of events, together with Dieselgate etc., to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and responsible car industry. Then these monkeys will not have suffered in vain.... (ethical issues are seldom straightforward...).
     
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  3. Scuffers

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    Let me start by saying I am no fan of diesel cars, I have never owned one and am patiently on the reservation list for a Model 3.

    HOWEVER! - the crap talked about NOx emissions is laughable, every country (or group) has been playing one-upmanship with each over over setting more and more unrealistic NOx targets since ~2002, so it's no great surprise that once these mandated levels got to the point of being un-achievable without massive costs, not only in manufacturing, but in component life, serviceability, and consumables, every OEM out there were looking hard at ways to meet the test criteria whichever way they can.

    Now, the problem here is the people setting the targets have zero understanding of the subject, and the tests used were never designed to be used like this, so obviously, 'gaming' the test cycle became rampant - you can call it cheating, but the reality was, they passed the tests they were presented with.

    This is obviously not good, however, nobody to date has come up with a better way to test in a controlled lab environment, and once governments started Taxing cars on the results of these tests, you just know what's going to happen.

    All that asside, we get back to NOx, and the real problem here is there simply have not been the detailed studies to prove the catastrophic headline grabbing rhetoric we are being bombarded with, where are the death certificates from the so called millions of people killed by NOx? (yes, I know that's somewhat simplistic, but you get the point).

    So, what did VW (and I'm pretty sure all OEM's or their contractors) do? they actually commissioned testing to see if they could prove/disprove any of this, this is how science is done, and yes, it's unpleasant, much like cosmetic's being tested on animals, or vaccines, etc etc etc. nevertheless, would you rather have this done or start mass testing with humans - you know, like they drug test some stuff now, usually picking on poor students or even the homeless as 'test subjects'?

    Now, I don't know what VW's motives were for this particular testing, it may well have been more about marketing, however, assuming they were not fabricating results/data, surely it has to be a good thing to get some empirical evidence/data on the subject?

    Anyway, Like I said at the start, I am not here to defend diesel cars, just to make the point that testing, unpleasant as it is, is preferable to simply not knowing and making legislation based on faulty assumptions.

    As a footnote, it's worth remembering that all the advances in emissions in the last ~15 years have been to the detriment of engine efficiency and thus CO2 output (per KWh) - this is true of all IC engines, it's also worth remembering that the vast majority of air pollution has little to do this private cars.
     
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  4. Archaebald

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    Well, unfortunately, the opportunities for natural experiments are abundant (you and me being the test subjects)... The results of these "naturalistic "studies (and previous, more controlled, experiments on animals) have shown quite unanimously that nitrogen oxides, and the particulate matter that they contribute to, have negative effects on humans, other animals, and the local and global environment (e.g., plants and climate). Hence, many people would claim that the study by VW, especially since the design apparently was flawed, did not contribute to the development of any new knowledge. I realize that tests on animals are sometimes called for, for example in the development of new drugs, but the cost (in terms of animal suffering)/benefit ratio should always be carefully considered. In the VW case, the reasons for doing the experiment stand out as dubious to me - and certainly not justifying the use of animals.

    Moreover, having a proper sample is A and Z if you want to tell something about the population with any degree of reliability/validity. Clearly, the VW experiment cannot tell anything about their engines, or diesel engines in general, since the tested engine allegedly emitted only 1/40 of the normal level of emissions (one could also suspect that the composition of the emissions was not "normal"). This is NOT how science is done (trust me, I am a scientist :)).

    I have heard several times that "those people" ("they" are in fact "us") setting the targets have no understanding of the subject. However, I hold the firm belief that a sustainable development requires to be energized by more than the market forces. Usually, the market tend to be slow moving (Tesla is an exception, and the reason I am also patiently (cough) waiting for my model 3. Just look at how long fossil fuels have dominated the market, despite our concerns about their hazards/limitations. As long as the money keep rolling in, there is not much incitement for change (wich costs, as you pointed out). Therefore, IMHO, we need to set limits that challenge the industry to develop their products. Of course, these targets must be realistic, otherwise the acceptance for those targets will be low (and cheating abundant). However, I do not think that we have come to road's end, in terms of making ICEs more efficient. The emissions of NOx to air by the transport sector have shown an almost linear decrease since 1990, despite more vehicles on the streets, and there is no sign of that trend flattening out. In total the cut is about 55% (Swedish numbers, similar in the US). At least in Sweden, I am convinced we would not have seen such a remarcable improvement without progressively tougher targets, set by those who see the bigger picture, not ONLY the interests of the industry (to continue as before). From my experience, knowing a few of these people, they are generally quite competent in their respective areas (e.g., Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Ecology, Medicine, Economy, Policy making, etc) - and then we have some people who's only merits seem to be strong opinions and rhetorical skills (as always in politics....)

    I am perfecty comfortable with agreeing that we disagree on some points. However I am glad to have you as a fellow model 3 hangaround/prospect. I'm sure our choice (aha, market force...;)) will transform the car industry in a more sustainable direction - and reducing NOx and particles in the streets can at least not be a bad thing ....
     
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  5. Scuffers

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    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    Maybe you could point us at some genuine studies on NOx then?
    I'm not trying to claim that a massive increase in NOx would not be problematic, however, we have simply not got anywhere close to problematic levels since the 1960's

    If you want to worry about air pollution, may I suggest you look to China/India/etc?
     
  6. Archaebald

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    Thank you for your interest. These studies/reviews below could be a good place to start. They also point at some alternatives to animal studies that are available today:

    L. Risom, P. Møller, S. Loft. Oxidative stress-induced DNA damage by particulate air pollution.
    Mutat. Res. Fund Mol. Mech. Mutagen, 592 (2005), pp. 119-137

    V. Stone, M.R. Miller, M.J.D. Clift, A. Elder, N.L. Mills, P. Moller, R.P.F. Schins, U. Vogel, W.G. Kreyling, K. Alstrup Jensen, T.A.J. Kuhlbusch, P.E. Schwarze, P. Hoet, A. Pietroiusti, A. De Vizcaya-Ruiz, A. Baeza-Squiban, J.P. Teixeira, C.L. Tran, F.R. Cassee. Nanomaterials versus ambient ultrafine particles: an opportunity to exchange toxicology knowledge.
    Environ. Health Perspect., 125 (2017), p. 106002

    S. Steiner, C. Bisig, A. Petri-Fink, B. Rothen-Rutishauser. Diesel exhaust: current knowledge of adverse effects and underlying cellular mechanisms. Arch. Toxicol., 90 (2016), pp. 1541-1553

    As a closing (?) remark, I'd like to emphasize I do not want to worry about air pollution, but not acknowledging the problem will not make it go away. This does not mean we need to be anxious, but take actions to mitigate the problem when we can (and we all can...). You are right that there are places where air pollution is an even bigger problem, but that does not mean it is not a problem in our own back yard (sorry for the double negation...).
     
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  7. arnis

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    From the last link: Diesel exhaust: current knowledge....
    The exact causal connection between air pollution—including diesel exhaust—and adverse health effects is still not fully understood, but certain molecular and cellular mechanisms are generally assumed to play a key role.


    So finding ways to reduce the amount of pollutants is as important A continuing "monkey research". I personally don't know how serious "monkey gate" is/was, but I don't disapprove it.Either you gas some monkeys with a "extremely small benefit" of knowledge, or you duck your head into the sand like ostrich and wait when problem goes away, while gassing 7 billion humans continuously with absolutely no progress.

    Keeping things simple, diesel ICE has not that many different pollutants we should actually care about.
    CO2 is not one of them. It's non-toxic. And the amount coming from all diesel passenger vehicles is negligible.
    CO - already solved by catalytic converter, most vehicles have that magic box working, even two decades being in service.
    HC - same story.
    PM - solved only on vehicles with DPF, but often non-functional due to technical failures and relaxed MOT-checks.
    SO2 - solved by strict fuel and oil requirements (only applies to automotive sector, things progress with ships and trains)
    NOx - solved only on vehicles equipped with SCR, but often non-functional due to relaxed MOT-checks.
    [/FONT]

    So, as far as I see pollution, on paper, it has been solved few years ago. But in reality, PM and NOx are still not solved.
    And these two can't be fixed "the regular way" - making vehicle more clean on paper. Fixing those is a story of supervision.
    And this requires two parties to work together - manufacturers and vehicle inspections globally. Unfortunately, I see no way
    each and every government capable of doing that. Well, we can't even get manufacturers doing the right thing (not just VW).

    China is "giving up" and going electric - for them, supervision is likely not sustainable and too slow.
    EU is not giving up and going WLTP and RDE - making things partially better, ignoring previously mentioned "fixed on paper" problem.
    US is ignoring big picture and "banning" diesel for crowds (unrealistic requirements) while making fuel economy trivial.
     
  8. Scuffers

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    And there we have it, we actually don't know to any certainty what the issue with NOx are and what levels would be problematic, in the meantime, we are strangling industry (not just automotive) with ever stricter emission targets that are simply unachievable outside of a lab.

    (what I mean by this is that take any curren EU6 diesel engined car, then actually drive it as most people actually will (ie, actually use the accelerator pedal!), and I guarantee it's emissions are nothing like close to the so called limits, no matter what.

    Adding SCR systems (Pig piss) are all very well, but have you any idea just how much you need? it's simply stupid levels, hence why VW 'cheated' as otherwise they would have to have 3-4X the size of adblue tanks on board etc etc, what they did was restrict the use of adblue to get the service intervals back to sencible.

    All this to meet a target that's questionable at the very least, and back to the land of reality, all the air monitoring done in big cities pretty much shows that cars account for less than 1% of NOx low-level pollution - the vast majority is public transport distantly followed by commercial vehicles.

    So, even if you think NOx is a problem, we are simply NOT addressing the major sources of it, instead we have just hammering the car buying public.

    PS, DPF's did go through a stage of learning, most now actually work OK, although the problem of small cars doing very short journey's persists.
     
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  9. Michael Russo

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    Guys, feel free to continue the exchange, if you so wish, yet please bring it down a notch in tone and emotion.

    Plus remember, while informative, this a T≡SLA Model 3 aficionado forum; most of us, most likely you guys too, would agree Diesel engines are largely passé... whether with high or controlled Nox... :D
     
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