Sunday, January 17, 2010

Losing weight and Going Green

We lost 41 pounds yesterday. The carpet is out of the car, and I took it for a test drive round the neighborhood today. It's loud inside now. That will actually be a good thing, since with the face shield of the helmet down, most sound is muffled. This compensates.

The first test event is next weekend. I'd like to cut another 20 pounds or so before then, by removing the radio. Lighter cars go faster, and I'm down a little horsepower now, owing to the miles on the engine.

Since I don't drive the car every day, I start it on the weekends. I miss driving it to work, but this way, I don't put more hours on the motor.

I've been thinking about trying to race greener. Racing uses an awful lot of fuel. Fuel to move the cars, fuel to tow the cars and so forth. I think I get around 4 MPG while racing. The tow vehicle gets around 10 while towing. I need to figure out a way to balance those numbers without buying carbon offsets from Norway or something.

The first way will be to make the tow vehicle run on either veg oil or biofuel. This is not so hard, as it happens, if you start with a diesel. The next tow vehicle will be that, and we'll start with biofuel immediately, with a later conversion to veg oil.

The race car is harder. The pro teams that race are using alcohol or e85. The problem with that is I'm pretty into the theory that corn does not make good alcohol, in a global sense. I could, at least in theory, figure out a way to make a biodiesel corvette. The existing engine would not work, of course. I think that I'll end up using e85. There are alternatives in Texas made from mesquite and other sorts of biomass that is not corn.

It's an interesting thought exercise, in any case.