Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mexican cuisine, Alternative fuels, Conservationism Vs Environmentalism

We have these quarterly team meetings. We go out for lunch and we congratulate each other on our achievements. This time around, we went to a Mexican restaurant. Nestled in a quaint little neighborhood, with lush greenery, tall gentle trees and overlooking a river. The food turns out better than the view. They make some amazing salsa and cheese enchiladas. The tomatoes for some reason taste extraordinary. Must be organic.

The conversation is free flowing ranging from the summer heat, yard work, how girls grow up too fast, how cute my husband is, how adorable my wife is, marriage, barbecue, NASCAR, left turns, more left turns etc etc. I am hearing all this, but all I really thinking about is my yummy enchiladas (munch munch). So I do the occasional nod, the "Oh really" , the "Wow", the "Hmmm". The conversation flows on... the high fuel prices, China and India's oil consumption, M85. The mention of M85 induces brain activity in me (Mission impossible theme song playing in my head). What ? . What is M85?

M85 is an alternative fuel that has 85% methanol and 15% unleaded premium gasoline. My research led me to this cool site, . Not only did I find answers about M85, but also information about other kinds of alternative fuels

* Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG, commonly known as propane)
* Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
* Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
* Methanol (M85)
* Ethanol (E85)
* Biodiesel (B20)
* Electricity
* Hydrogen

The author, Dr Looper is a PhD from Caltech and a scientist working for Aerospace Corporation. The website talks about the alternative fuels available today, its advantages and its disadvantages. The site is a must surf. E85 and B20 are renewal fuel sources and sound very promising to me. Many carbon-trading projects are helping people in the developing world use Biodiesel.

My dream come true would however be to have an electric car, painted with solar cells. I mentioned dispersible solar cells in my earlier post. Anyway, that is just me and my dream.

Dr Looper says this about himself... "I named this website "Uncle Mark's Alternative Fueling Station" because it is mostly for those three, and for all children growing up breathing polluted air, that I think we need to promote alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel. In that sense, I am more a conservationist than an environmentalist: an environmentalist mostly values wilderness and wildlife for their own sakes, whereas a conservationist figures that we don't inherit the planet from our parents--we borrow it from our children. This is consistent with my own generally conservative point of view; I have never understood why most conservatives regard conservationism with such alarm--after all, the two words "conservative" and "conservation" come from the same root, and I for one would say that taking care of the planet we are borrowing from the next generation is about as good an expression of "family values" as you're likely to find!"

I hope to be a good environmentalist someday (maybe!). My main motivation is a better and green future. Not just trees and wildlife for my own sake, but also for the future generations. To me, conservationism and environmentalism is the same thing; both are the same people; both are good people. Dr Looper is entitled to his opinion. Regardless, he seems to be a great guy.

Quote of the day
"...But the real thing about Mexican food is that it is not all tacos; it i’s mostly Mexican food from all around Mexico" -- Shelley Golan, a sweet little kid


Prabhu said...

Since we are on the subject of clean air and alternate might worth while to check the impact of moving to a cleaner fuel in city like Delhi...

One More Reason said...

I like whatever I have read so far. I am yet to complete it. The reasoning behind going the CNG way seems very logical.

There have been instances where the high courts in some states have tried to do something about the environment. In a majority of those cases, implementation of the ruling was never successful.

Let me read the whole thing. I'll be back

One More Reason said...

A thought provoking success story, two decades in the making. I just wish India had more people like Mr. Mehta.

I remember reading about large scale demonstration against the proposed shift to CNG. Unfortunately, I read it and then moved on. Sad.

Thanks Prabhu for posting this. Thanks once again.

This success could/should be replicated in other cities. But it is not realistic for the court's to run around politicians and make them do their jobs. Only public awareness and activism will result in good politics and good governance. That is a grandiose statement!

People are hard pressed to earn a living as it is. With population growing steadily, things will only get worse. Activism will probably be the last thing on their minds.

Clean air, Clean water and food are basic human rights. People need to be aware of that. Corporations and politicians should never be allowed to make money by robbing people of that right.

It is my firm belief that public awareness can happen in two ways. Mass media campaigns and religion. The former is too expensive. The later is an option I am looking hard into. I will try and post more details as and when I bake my ideas a little more.

Thomas said...

Don't forget Wind Energy, good fuel... And I heard of a compressed Air car somewhere...

One More Reason said...


Wow ! Who would have thought of compressed air for fuel. I actually found an article that talks about just that

The company is called Zero Pollution Motors and they seem to have a production plant in South Africa. I need to find out more. Wow. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

You can find more information about MC Mehta and his work at

Anonymous said...

Hydrogen rickshaws !!
via sepiamutiny
via Indian Express

Jennifer said...

If we bottled all the gas we produce in Mexican restaurants, there would be no need for oil!

One More Reason said...