Ducati solution essay

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Ducati solution essay

A Lifecycle Perspective Motorcycle Pollution: A Lifecycle Perspective August 2, By Jeremiah Knupp Is a road full of motorcycles more forgiving to the environment than a road full of cars? Science seeks to answer this with its first life cycle perspective of a motorcycle.

The article, by Times columnist Susan Carpenter, pointed to the fact that motorcycles, which travel one percent of the vehicle miles traveled on California roads, contribute 10 percent of vehicular emissions in the state.

Did I hear that right? Tailpipe emission tests only tell part of the story. It takes everything into account, from the birth to the death of a product, analyzing enough data to make the pocket protector wearers among us giddy. Part of what a lifecycle analysis looks at is how much energy is requred to harvest raw materials during production.

Using motorcycles as an example it works something like this. How much energy is required to harvest the raw materials needed to build a bike? What infrastructure does the finished machine require service stations, oil changes and how much wear and tear does it cause to streets, highways and parking lots?

What is required to maintain this infrastructure? What expendables fuel, tires will the machine use? What periphery industries does it necessitate like auto insurance companies?

How long will the machine last and how many miles will it take passengers in its lifetime?

Ducati solution essay

What happens to it when it is no longer usable? How much pollution does its disposal cause? For example, if a city bus averages miles a day and its average load is 10 passengers, then it is traveling passenger miles per day. If a motorcycle travels that same miles, carrying 1.

The amount of energy consumed and pollution created is quantified relative to moving one passenger one mile. The comparison is now apples to apples. On the leading edge of lifecycle analysis of transportation is a University of California Berkeley post doctoral researcher, Mikhail Chester.

Chester has developed a lifecycle model that analyzes the environmental impact of transportation modes that vary from San Francisco BART trains to passenger sedans. He recently crunched the numbers on the lifecycle impact of motorcycles.


For us motorcyclists his results come as our own little inconvenient truth. When lifetime energy consumption is graphed, touring and cruiser motorcycles use more energy per passenger miles traveled than gasoline powered cars but less than SUVs Can a motorcycle cause more pollution than a Hummer?

Sportbikes, on the other hand, consume more energy per passenger miles traveled than any other form of road-based transportation, due in part to their fuel economy, high performance engines and complex and specialized manufacturing process. When it comes to air pollution in the form of CO2 and sulfur dioxide, these relationships hold.

But for emissions in the form of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compound and particulate matter, motorcycles of any type far surpass all other types of transportation. The use of catalytic converters cause a slight decrease in these numbers, but not enough to make up the gap between vehicles with four wheels and those with two.

But a closer look will reveal a fair and measured approach to assessing motorcycle impact. A Harley Fat Boy, for example, is typical of nearly 50 percent of motorcycles on American streets and, according to Chester, smaller motorcycles require nearly as much energy to manufacture and maintain, while creating approximately the same amount of pollution.

The study also uses conservative assumptions, like motorcycle service lives of over 50, miles and 6, mile tire life.

So what do these results mean to motorcyclists? In the past, when people point to the pollution coming out of our tailpipe, we were quick to note our fuel efficiency and small size that takes up less space on the roads and in parking lots.


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