Toxic chemicals ethylene glycol and propylene glycol have been the preferred engine coolants for decades. Glycerol (glycerin) was once used as a coolant, but it was expensive and it's a weaker freezing point depression ruled it out.
This may all change soon. Glycerin is a natural byproduct of biodiesel, so while biodiesel is starting to be produced in large quantities, so is glycerin. This new abundance of glycerin has made it cost competitive with its more toxic counterparts.
SAE International did an extensive evaluation of glycerin's performance in heat transfer, corrosion protection, freeze point, thermal stability and toxicity. They concluded that glycerin should be reconsidered as a less toxic base for antifreeze.
I like the idea of reducing waste by coming up with uses for a byproduct. Eliminating or reducing waste in manufacturing will need to be a star player in our move towards a cleaner planet or we'll never get there. Plus a reduction in a product's toxicity is always a step in the right direction.
Image via rrelam
written by John Williams, November 07, 2008
written by Ed Eaton, April 25, 2009
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