“Why does it pollute the gas in cars and planes? »

Gasoline is obtained by separating oil components into specialized factories called refineries. Gasoline mixed with air is a flammable and explosive product that allows a car or an aircraft engine to run. The explosion is controlled and allows moving parts of the engine to move the wheels of the cars.

For airplanes, we use a special gasoline called kerosene that does not freeze even when it is very cold at high altitude.

Even though gasoline is dangerous, we rarely break down, and in general, everything works very well. But there is a problem: air pollution. When gasoline or kerosene is burned, the engine releases carbon dioxide (CO2 often listen) and products that did not burn well. And there, it is complicated, because air pollution alters the climate with more heat, more droughts and floods, and causes more diseases …

We know what happens in an engine: air and fuel. We know what happens there: combustion allows the car or the plane to advance by activating the engine. But what comes out of the exhaust pipe or the reactor?

First problem: carbon dioxide (CO₂)

Oxygen from the air (O) allows combustion. It is then converted to carbon dioxide which combines 1 carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms (CO2). However, CO2 it is a greenhouse gas. It retains heat in the atmosphere. The hotter it is, the hotter it will be on Earth. And precisely, its amount is increasing at full speed. We’ve never found so many in the environment!

Temperature changes on the Earth’s surface over the last 2,000 years.
Modified from the IPCC Report, 2021

Second problem: particles that have not burned

Then there are also emissions of other molecules that it is best to avoid breathing. The best of them are less than 10 microns; then we talk about ultrafine particles (UFP). 1 micron is a thousand times smaller than a millimeter! UFPs can lodge in the back of the lungs without leaving. In addition, molecules can be associated with each other, for example with the pollen or dust contained in the air we breathe. All this can cause many diseases … We are interested in living away from airports and high traffic roads.

How to eliminate gas pollution?

The best solution would be to eliminate gasoline … “I imagine workers are plugging hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells that need to be cleaned up,” said Joe Biden, President of the United States of America. . Yes, but when will we do it? Most carmakers announce that they will become fully electric between 2030 and 2050. Airbus announces its first hydrogen electric jet in 2035.

We can also play by telling ourselves that if we have more forests, the trees will catch CO2 for carbon to grow and release oxygen. Magical! But unfortunately, forests are being cleared all over the world. Today, even the Amazon emits more CO2 which absorbs because the forest is replaced by fields after it has been burned.

There is another idea with biofuels: we grow plants that turn into fuel. When we burn it, we still release pollution, but the following plants capture carbon from the air. And so there is a cycle of fuel / pollution / pollution capture / fuel, and so on. Then we limit the damage. But problem: where do we find enough fields when we need them for humans and farm animals?

Inevitably, one day there will be no more oil or gas because they are nature reserves that will end up depleted. We have had wars over oil and gas, and we continue to do so. So you can start with other solutions right away, even if it’s complicated and expensive.



Diane Rottner, CC BY-NC-ND

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