Though biodiesel is still an infant industry, it serves as a reasonable alternative energy source to petroleum. Most cars in the United States have gasoline engines, but Mr. Thompson suggested that a diesel engine transition would benefit the environment in the long run. Of course this would be the case only if biodiesel were used in the engine. Diesel engines squeeze air more tightly than gasoline engines and more energy is involved. Gasoline engines are suitable for smaller equipment, and involve air and spark combustions, and a piston.
Formation of Biodiesel:
Biodiesel is made from natural oils (origin: soy, canola, poultry fat, algae, jatropha) in a chemical refinement process.
- Better lubricant for inside of engine than regular diesel
- Reduces carbon emissions by 78.4%
- Not carcinogenic
- Not flammable
- Not hazardous
- Biodegrades quickly
- Not yet available in great quantities
- Not cheaper than petroleum
- Doesn’t behave well at cold temperature (begins to form a gel between 30-50°F
- Problems with solvent
According to Mr. Thompson, if biodiesel were the main fuel source, global warming would have less of an impact on the planet. Nonetheless, there is no proof that more gas mileage is gained from the usage of biodiesel, and it’s shelf life is only six months.
Photo Credit to Mr. Willard
The book says that certain factors such as fishing in deeper waters, fishing off shore, and spending more time fishing mask population declines in fisheries and indicates stability. I’m confused because wouldnt all of these factors indicate that fish numbers are declining? Shouldn’t fishing in deeper waters indicate that we must go to deeper waters as a result of less fish in shallow waters?
What exactly is the fixed-dose procedure? In addition, if it is being performed on a variety of species, what exactly can be concluded from such a test?
I know that NPP is the “leftovers” that producers store that primary consumers can take advantage of, but what exactly does that mean? Also, is this intertwined with trophic levels, and I would assume that biomass increases as NPP increases.
In a predator/prey relationship during an extended growing season, what are the biological reasons for the extinction of the predator (wolf), and does the prey always become extinct first?
Does the ocean-atmosphere exchange occur primarily by respiration of aquatic life, and does rain also contribute to carbon in the ocean? How does carbon go from the ocean to the atmosphere?
Is the Coriolis Effect directly related to global cells, and if so in what way?
Why does eating lower on the energy pyramid reduce your ecological footprint?
On Friday we learned about the importance of utilizing resources wisely through the Gone Fishing Simulation. During this simulation, four people sat at each table, representing a village. A plate represented the village lake, which was filled with sixteen fish per month (goldfish). In the first one minute round, each member of the village had to take at least two fish by using a straw as a suction device to capture the goldfish. If a member didn’t take two fish, his or her family died. In addition, during this round, village members could not speak to each other. After every round, the number of fish remaining in the pond was doubled, the game began again and conversation was allowed. For additional fish taken (other than the first two), the village member gained profit (a mint). Eventually we learned that for the number of the fish in the pond to be sustained, instead of running out after the second or third round, each member could only take two fish–enough to sustain his or her family. This idea was then related to The Tragedy of the Commons which is defined as, The degredation of a public resource due to self interest. This idea was originally proposed by Hardin whose essay can be read at the following link. http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html The class came up with three solutions to this problem: 1. Voluntary Cooperation 2. Government Regulation 3. Privitization. The class then decided that this problem is comparable to what will eventually happen to the senior lounge if it is not already occurring, and we decided that the two global commons are the oceans and the atmosphere.
In my opinion, the most pressing environmental problem in today’s world is global warming. The consequences of global warming are grave, as they occur in a chain reaction. As carbon emissions increase, a blanket ozone layer continually forms causing the Earth to heat up. In recent years, temperatures have skyrocketed causing melting of glaciers, which can ultimately lead to the extinction of arctic marine species. If icebergs no longer exist, the habitats of arctic seals and polar bears will become nonexistent. This limits the biodiversity present in the current ecological system, and could effect the natural order of the food chain, leading to extinction of more species. In addition, with warmer temperatures, species will require more resources, such as water. The freshwater supply on the Earth is not infinite, and in thousands or millions of years, this could become a shortage problem. Furthermore, because the Earth has not previously housed such high carbon levels, the known patterns that natural phenomena follow could be altered, causing unpredictable drastic change in the world as we know it.