Can The NOx-Out Cut Mower Pollution by 93% ?!?
The lawn. The green oasis that surrounds the mighty American Suburban Home. All that grass....so lovely, so fresh and green...so much pollution required to keep it well-manicured.
Yes, the gas-powered lawn mower that almost all of us use to keep our Great American Lawns looking nice kicks out a lot of air pollution. A LOT of pollution. Even newer mower engines that are much more efficient and cleaner than the engines of a decade ago spew lots of nasty pollutants into the air. According to the EPA, lawn mowers creates 11 times more pollution per hour than a new automobile engine.
There's got to be a bettery way.
Greener Lawn Options
There are lots of ways to cut the pollution associated with lawn maintenance. There are electric lawn mowers that eliminate the gas altogether, but require long extension cords or rechargeable batteries that limit their usefulness. There are even robotic lawn mowers that will do the job for you. Again, these futuristic mowers are, at least for now, best suited for small lawns (and are very expensive as well).
If you've got lawn space and are looking to eliminate the lawn mower altogether, there are concepts such as the 'no grass lawn,' which replaces traditional grasses with other types of plants, such as clover, alyssum, juniper and tapiens. These groundcover plants do a nice job of creating a beautiful lawn without the need for contstant maintenance.
Plant researchers are also developing 'no mow' grasses for homeowners who still want the look of a traditional grass lawn, but without the heavy mowing schedule. These grasses have been designed to grow to a certain height, then stop. "Regular" grass will continue to grow until it's mowed. With these new grass plants, you might say that you 'won't have to cut the grass no mow. '
UC Riverside Device Cuts Mower Emissions by 93%
While 'no mow' grass, grass-free yards, and robotic mowers are wonderful alternatives to regular lawn mowing, the truth is that the majority of us with grass lawns are probably going to have a grass lawn for the forseeable future, and will most likely be out there mowing it with a traditional gas-powered lawn mower. And be polluting the air while we do it.
While lawn mower engine manufacturers are making small advancements in efficiency and pollution reduction, gas mower engines are still relatively dirty things. At least until a group of engineering students at UC Riverside came along with their pollution-cutting device.
These students have created a device (which has been dubbed 'NOx-Out') that, when added to any gas-powered lawn mower engine, slashes its pollutants by 93%. This 'device' is a simple L-shaped pipe that replaces the engines' muffler.
According the the UC Riverside students, the NOx-Out device contains "a filter which captures the harmful pollutants. Then an ultra-fine spray of urea solution is dispersed into the exhaust stream. The urea spray primes the dirty air for the final stage, when a catalyst converts the harmful nitrogen oxide and ammonia into harmless nitrogen gas and water and releases them into the air."
Early studies of the device showed that it cut down carbon monoxide emissions by 87 percent,particulate matter by 44 percent, and nitrogen oxides by 67 percent. Further tweaking and refining of the NOx-Out have boosted particulate matter emissions by 93%.
The NOx-Out device is capable of real reductions in these harmful pollutants. Better yet, the NOx-Out will soon be seeing action in the real world on the machinery of the UC Riverside lawn maintenance team, and eventually throughout all the campuses of the University of California.
The student team hopes to have a commercial version available in the future, which they claim will cost as little as $30. Soon, all of us in the lawn mowing community who love our lawns but cherish clean air as well can take a huge step towards having an affordable best of both worlds.
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