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Posts Tagged ‘Deepwater Horizon spill’

Vortex Tools looks at the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal. 

It’s a new week, which means it’s time for another story featuring environmental failure.

Admittedly, that’s the reality of most news. If it doesn’t fall under tragedy, villainy, or novelty, it doesn’t get much play, so in the environmental world, you often get stuck reviewing stories of the impending global warming apocalypse, eco-villains circumventing environmental regulations, or novelty technologies that are more entertaining that sustainable (I’m looking at you, anything that begins with “Give me your trash…”).

This week, it was door #2—eco-villains circumventing environmental regulations—with Volkswagen admitting to skirting EPA car emissions. If you haven’t been following the story, here’s what you need to know:

  • More cars on the road leads to increased carbon emissions. We’ve sought to taper this down via technology (improving the fuel source and vehicular design) and regulation (EPA emissions standards). Plenty of people have disputed the approach of both. Some say we should have left gasoline behind long ago; others argue that the efficiency of unleaded gasoline isn’t worth the slim environmental benefits it brings.
  • Here’s what you can’t do: You can’t design your car to get around regulations. That’s what Volkswagen did in their 2009-2015 model diesel engine cars (and those sold under the Audi brand) in the United States. Basically the car software detects when it’s being tested for NOx emissions then enables controls to automatically pass the test. Easy A, right?
  • So now, while your sweet ride’s engine performed better with improved gas mileage, pollution limits are believed to be 40 times above the legal limit. If you were to put that in drinking terms, this is equivalent to the kind of drunk that has you waking up in a different state without pants or memory of the last 12 hours. Except in this case, it’s not a body or a car taking the damage, it’s a planet. The current count on these modified vehicles recalled is 11,000.
  • In the wake of the scandal, Volkswagen stock prices and consumer ratings have plummeted. Although he states he was unaware of the software modifications, Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn stepped down on September 23rd. They’re now looking at legal consequences and losses which are expected to equate to billions.
  • Volkswagen has since hired the same law firm (Kirkland & Ellis) that defended BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While I imagine that doesn’t inspire trust in the Volkswagen consumer, BP still turned a profit the year of that oil spill. With Volkswagen being the second largest automobile maker in the world, they’ll be looking for a similar “successful” result.

However, the big thing in all this is that I’ll forever cringe when I see a picture of a hippie next to an old slug bug.

Found on activerain.com

Found on activerain.com

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Colin McKay Miller is the VP of Marketing for the SpiroFlo Holdings group of companies:

SpiroFlo for residential hot water savings (delivered 35% faster with up to a 5% volume savings on every hot water outlet in the home), industrial water purification (biofilm removal), and reduced water pumping costs.

Vortex Tools for extending the life of oil and gas wells (recovering up to 10 times more NGLs, reducing flowback startup times, replacing VRUs, eliminating paraffin and freezing in winter, etc.).

Ecotech for cost-effective non-thermal drying (for coal, biosolids, sugar beets, dairy waste, etc.) and safe movement of materials (including potash and soda ash).

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