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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carbon Dioxide: Part 16, Olympic Torch Emissions

In a previous post, we observed a fact of burning propane. When a molecule of propane is burned, the hydrogen atoms are replaced with oxygen atoms which are 16 times heavier than a hydrogen atom. When the C3H8 propane molecule is burned, it becomes 3 molecules of CO2. The new product weight jumps from 44 units to 132 units, an increase of 3 times because oxygen is 16 times heavier than hydrogen. The extra weight comes from the oxygen.

The ABC and Slate articles cited before are preoccupied with the large weight of carbon dioxide that is produced from burning jet fuel and propane in the torch. On the other hand, they totally ignore another byproduct of that combustion.

Burning propane produces water as well as CO2. What is the weight of water produced? Besides the 3 atoms of carbon being combined with oxygen, the 8 atoms of hydrogen also are combined with oxygen. These 8 atoms of hydrogen are combined with 4 atoms of oxygen to produce 4 molecules of water (H2O). Here is the math:

3x12 + 8x1 = 44 units of weight for C3H8 source

3x12 + 6x16 = 132 units of weight for CO2 byproduct

8x1 + 4x16 = 72 units of weight for H2O byproduct

132 + 72 = 204 units of total weight of the byproducts

So the 44 units of weight of propane become 204 units of weight when burned, forming carbon dioxide and water. All hydrocarbons, when burned, produce CO2 and H2O. Al Gore and Company are hollering about the carbon dioxide and its greenhouse effect that increases global warming. The two articles cited above are typical. They do not say anything about the water that is produced when hydrocarbons are burned.

It’s hard to condemn water. How can anyone classify it as a poison which they do for CO2? It just wouldn’t fly, would it? So they ignore it, but water vapor has a greenhouse effect just as carbon dioxide does. Both molecules trap heat, restricting its flow into space. An equal amount of CO2 is more effective in trapping heat than H2O is.

When propane (C3H8) is burned, there are 4 molecules of H2O that are produced and 3 molecules of CO2. However, this situation immediately after burning propane does not stay that way for very long. The balance in the atmosphere comes to an average ratio of 60 times more water than carbon dioxide. So water has far more influence on trapping heat around the globe than carbon dioxide does. In fact, water vapor accounts for at least 90% of the earth’s greenhouse effect.

Yet we do not read much in global warming articles about the much larger greenhouse effect of water. But it’s coming. Here is a headline: EPA Seeks To Have Water Vapor Classified As A Pollutant. There will be a tax on water produced by combustion.

We are doomed. Every tree that we plant to aid carbon credits and lock up CO2 for a few decades through photosynthesis will eventually rot naturally. As the wood decays, it slowly gives off CO2 and H2O. So we will need to plant more. And then there will be more to rot!

It’s rotten to be on the Goracle’s treadmill. I can’t wait for that to be verboten.

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