adrian is rad


way to go, Palo Alto

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:21 am

Palo Alto has a gas-powered leaf blower ban. Okay, seems a little extreme, but you know, you want to do well for the environment, right?

Well twice in the past couple months, I’ve seen this: an electric leaf blower plugged into a gas powered generator.

For those of you who aren’t engineers or this isn’t obvious to: an electric leaf blower plugged into a gas powered generator is necessarily less efficient than a gas powered leaf blow. It’s quieter, though, while it’s killing the environment more so at least we got that!

4 Responses to “way to go, Palo Alto”

  1. Colin Says:

    This sounds like about the outcome I would expect from governmental regulation.

    However, I’m not sure that I agree that the generator plus electric motor is necessarily less efficient. If you assume the engine in the generator and the leaf blower are equally efficient, then, yes. However, those tiny leaf blower engines are probably substantially less efficient than a generator. That said, the generator is probably producing a lot more electricity than the leaf blower needs, so a lot of energy is probably wasted. So, the generator is almost definitely more wasteful, but it might not be less efficient.

  2. adrian Says:

    So the 2 stroke leaf blower engine is something like 20% efficient. Approximately.

    The motor in the generator is maybe 30% at the high end, the generator is maybe 90%, the inverter 80% and the electric motor is 90%. That put us at 19%. I don’t think the motor in the generator is 50% more efficient than the leaf blower engine. It may be close to 10-20% more efficient.

    I’m not 100% sure, but if I had to put money on it, I’d say the generator is less efficient.

  3. Milkshake Says:

    Nerd alert!

  4. Dolphio Says:

    Who needs leaf blowers, there’s plenty of hot air being blown about at this post! Hi-ooooh!

    That being said… I agree with Colin. Gas powered leaf blowers are generally much more powerful (and way more fun especially the backpack-type) than an average electric blower, although for most circumstances, an electric blower is effective enough for the average after mowing debris. So, you need to look at the total energy expended, which, theoretically with a well matched generator, could be less wasteful than a large powerful blower. Unlikely, but possible.

    It doesn’t matter how efficient something is if its doing 90% more work than it needs to.

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