I N · T H I S · I S S U E
A few weeks ago I hit the road in New England with my college-bound daughter Skye. We hit eleven universities in eight days. Along the way, we were exposed to activism of all kinds: Students in Middlebury are fighting the International Paper Mill in upstate New York; students at Hampshire put out the Vegetarian News. (I struggled through an article titled: “the life of a cow.”) And in the hills of Western Massachusetts I met a grease car driver. “So what’s up with that?”
Turns out there are a number of grease car die-hards who collect used oil and grease from the back allies of fast food restaurants in the dead of night. Like stealth fighters they glean this fuel source in clandestine activity for their converted diesel engines. The result? Free fuel and cars and trucks whose emissions smell like French fries!
With gas prices soaring and projected to rise through the summer, more people will be looking for alternatives. Want a “grease car”? See www.greasecar.com. Now it turns out that the idea of grease cars is going global! The Shanghai Daily reports a new company there plans to purify 40 tons of vegetable oil collected from restaurants each day, creating 17 tons of fuel that will be mixed with diesel for sale to gas stations to fuel vehicles.
So each of us carries a different stone. I commute by train, she drives a hybrid, he collects his sink water to water the garden, my mom gets the prize for micro-recycling -- and they drive grease cars! There are countless options for making the world a better place, and there are lots of different opinions. “That’s what makes horse races!”
Thanks so much to each of you who signed on as Charter Members. We’re on a roll!
Reader Response On Water Heaters
“Great newsletter. Especially liked the article on instant water heaters because I used to have an instantaneous electric water heater on my dishwasher in my old house in Santa Ana where we did a lot of electric appliance testing.
It was really great because it was just a booster. You could keep the water heater temp lower (we had a heat pump water heater for the main unit) and still have water hot enough for dishwashing.
The trouble with electric instantaneous WH is that they take so much electricity when they are on. Sort of like what your article says about needing 3/4 inch gas for a gas IWH. We needed a 240V circuit to the kitchen just for the WH. We also put them in the pool house of another employee. Since they seldom used the shower it was a great application. But when you turned on the shower the lights dimmed, even though we had rewired the pool house with hefty wires. I guess not hefty enough.
But the heaters are cool. I still see them often in gas station restrooms, an ideal location, since just a little sink can get by with a 4000-W (20A) unit and have water hot enough to wash hands. Unlike gas units, the electric ones just sit right on the wall and need no ventilation since they have no exhaust fumes. See, the old Edison employee still comes out when talking about appliances!”
Mark Shirilau, President Aloha Systems