Title: Project 1
My discipline of mechanical engineering typically deals with problems of efficiency and in turn sustainability. It addresses current systems in place and works to improve their output while reducing their energy consumption. In the case of Boston’s public transportation and sanitation, it is important to address the problem of high amounts of fossil fuels being burned to keep the city functioning. A change in this area will not only help combat global warming as a whole, it will lead to reductions in both air and noise pollution in the city. It will affect both the general public who use public transportation as well as many residents who live at or near street level in the city. My discipline offers insights into the differences between internal combustion engines and electric motors. It can compare the cost/benefits of each in terms of accessibility, reliability, feasibility, and price. The input it provides can then be used to move forward in making a decision on how to best improve or alter the current fleet of vehicles that the city uses.
Forbes Magazine, 51 (4), 541-554.(Mar 4, 2015). Electric Garbage Trucks: Huge Energy Savings And They Won't Wake You Up In The Morning.
Ian Wright, a Tesla cofounder, saw vast potential for electric motors in trucks and other vehicles beyond cars. Garbage trucks are known to be among the biggest wasters of energy due to their nature of highly frequent stops. Electrically powered garbage trucks are highly efficient due to their nature of capturing all of the energy used in braking and then reusing it, while also not releasing any carbon emissions. Electric garbage trucks would have one of the most profound impacts on the energy efficiency of Boston’s public vehicles.
City of Boston.gov, 51 (4), 541-554.(Apr 7, 2015). Mayor Walsh Announces Ordinance to Reduce Diesel Emissions.
Mayor Martin Walsh has announced his support for reducing the emissions from diesel vehicles owned or operated by the city of Boston. There are a growing number of health concerns both in the city and in the world regarding the problems created by carbon emissions from vehicles. “The asthma rate in Boston’s neighborhoods continues to climb," said Councilor Murphy in a statement regarding the declining health of certain areas of Boston. A large step to solving this public health issue could lie within eliminating all emissions from the city’s vehicles.
Next City, 51 (4), 541-554.(Jul 17, 2015). Ex-Tesla Employee Wants Electric City Bus to Beat Out Diesel.
Many people look to electric cars as the best way to decrease emissions, but often overlook other modes of transportation that could be improved Buses are among the least environmentally friendly forms of transportation, averaging around 4mpg. When confronted with the improved versions of diesel vehicles, Proterra founder Ryan Popple adds, “Natural gas is harder to see, but it doesn’t really solve the problem and still creates a lot of ozone. Bottom line: It’s a really bad idea to burn fossil fuels in an urban environment.” Switching the city’s fleet of natural gas and hybrid buses over to electric would greatly improve transportation efficiency while lowering emissions in highly populated areas and travel routes.
CleanTechnica, 51 (4), 541-554.(Jun 10, 2015). Electric Buses Could Beat CNG Buses By A Mile — Or Nearly 6.
The newest versions of electric buses not only beat current CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and diesel buses in terms of emissions, but also in how efficiently they use the energy they do have. Proterra is among the largest of recent electric bus manufacturers to enter the market. Their product is set apart from other current buses not only in the lack of emissions, but also in the efficiency of their buses as a whole; they have swapped out heavier building materials in favor of carbon fiber and other materials to make their buses lighter and perform better. Boston could benefit from implementing electric buses because they not only use cleaner energy, they also use less energy.
Boston.com, 51 (4), 541-554.(Aug 28, 2015). Breathing Boston air is like smoking 5 cigarettes a year.
Although most people can’t tell, there is still a fair amount of pollution in the air of Boston. Air pollution comes in different forms, including gaseous and particulate. In regards to particulate matter, John Walke, Clean Air Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, notes “These are very fine particles, and those particles are particularly dangerous because they’re so small, they can penetrate past the body’s natural defense system.’’ Particulate matter is one of the leading health hazards the EPA is trying to address in its ordinances regarding emissions standards because lower CO2 does not necessarily mean lower particle byproducts. Eliminating particulate matter as a whole from emissions would be a large step forward in the respiratory health of the city.