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catalytic converter


I received this reply to a post of mine at www.aceshardware.com/forum....

Just thought that I should share it with you guys, for your entertainment/interest.... not a bad post by any standards, and it does raise a quite interesting point in relation to the environment.... I notice that environmental science is part of architecture curriculum more these days....

There is a company that claims to have a relatively efficient
process for turning any organic waste into oil, natural gas,
and other fuels. I heard about it on an episode of Techknowledge
on the Science Channel tonight, but there doesn't seem to be
too much information about it on the web.


They seem to be building, or have built a 20 million dollar
facility, so hopefully it actually works and isn't environmentally
harmful. If it does work, then it wouldn't matter if you
burn the resulting fuels since it is a renewable resource.
It would just be part of the cycle unlike oil from the ground
which adds to the carbon dioxide and takes oxygen out of the

There is still a need for hydrogen or electric vehicles though.
In valleys like Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, not producing
carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other polutants would be
usefull since it sticks around and causes smog.

I have found that a persons level of environmental concern
depends on where they live a lot. I grew up in Michigan,
which is mostly flat, and has a low population. Polution
just blows away. There is very little environmental concern.
Most people drive gas guzzling vehicles and a lot of people
just burn their trash and heat their house with wood. I
remember one of my friends who is into high powered vehicles
saying that you could just bash all of the stuff in a catalytic
converter out for better exhaust flow. He would just put a
piece of pipe on there if a catalytic converter wasn't required
by law. They don't check to make sure that the catalytic converter
is actually working though. He just rebuilt the engine in his
truck with a bunch of aftermarket parts. It is a 390 (old, very
large engine; used to be used in busses and such, I believe).
He spent about $4000. He used an expensive aluminum head,
aftermarket crank shaft, headers, aftermarket carburator, and
various other parts. He was planning on driving it to work
every day, about 32 miles there and back. It requires premium
gas, and it may get 5 miles to the gallon or so, I don't really
know. It would definately be under 10 miles to the gallon.
Hopefully he has reconsidered with the higher gas prices.

This wouldn't work in Silicon Valley. I believe it is illegal
here to install wood burning fireplaces in new houses. In
California, you also have to get a smog check for your car every
year or two, to make sure it is putting out acceptable levels
of polution. This means that your engine must be in good running
condition. It can't be burning much oil. I know a lot of people
driving cars back in Michigan that they have to add oil to all
of the time. One of my friends here has an older car, and he
had to have the engine rebuilt to get it to pass the smog check
(it needed a rebuild anyway). A few years later he had to put
a new catalytic converter on it to get it to pass.

Just read through some of the other replies, some excellent points of views and slants coming into that thread. The prospect of a 'hydrogen economy' is mentioned amongst other things....



side note

When I bought my wedding bands for my wife and I the jewerler said the catalytic converter is the reason why platinum is so expensive. Anyone else heard about this?

Apparantly there was not much woth to platinum before it was needed in the catalytic converter. Once it was the demand vs supply factor kicked in, it became expensive and people started wanting it to wear it to show wealth.

Now days they have other metals to use in the converter, but the value has remained.

"...Platinum is also used in a device called a catalytic converter, a device found in the exhaust systems of most cars. Catalytic converters combine carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned fuel from a car's exhaust with oxygen from the air, forming carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O). "

Source: Jefferson Lab found on askjeeves.com

We bought white gold instead. MUCH cheaper. But if you are lucky enough to afford platinum, more power to you. :)
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Same over here... in Ireland.

Around €700.00 or more to replace here on a Ford Galaxy my friend owned in summer 2000 - the car was owned by his Dad, a taxi driver in London city, before he got it - the thing was 'so sophisticated' that it would not start at all, until you 'replaced' the Catalytic converter...