The Green Show: Mercury Milan hybrid engineOn the Green Show this week, the Mercury Milan hybrid engine, the U.K. tracks its carbon content, and a company combines carbon dioxide and the sun to create fuel.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Mark LeSaya: Hey, everyone. I'm Mark LeSaya [phonetic], and this week we show off the engine on the 2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid. The UK can track its carbon content. And a company that combines CO2 and the sun to create fuel. The Green Show starts now. ^M00:00:16 [ Music ] ^M00:00:23 The Mercury Milan is an Editor's Choice-winning hybrid, and the tech behind the car's engine gives it pretty solid mileage. Brian Cooley has more. ^M00:00:30 >> Brian Cooley: This is common to many of Ford's hybrids right now, and Mercury products, of course. You've got a two and a half-liter inline four, gas engine, which could deliver good power if it was built that way, but this one is built to be lean. It's called an Atkinson cycle motor. And what it does is it has its various strokes -- the four strokes of a four-cycle engine -- adjusted to emphasize full burn of the fuel charge at the expense of some power. But of course, the power's augmented by an electric motor that is bonded to the powertrain, and all sitting side-saddle here in this front wheel drive car. The power goes out through an electronic-controlled CVT: continuously variable transmission. And that kind of gearbox actually has no gears. It has two variable diameter pulleys and a strong, steel belt around them. And that's how it creates variable ratios, infinite number of combinations, even though it drives like a regular automatic. The bottom line is, this car can run in electric mode only or a blend of gas and electric, or just go all the way to the gas engine. So it's a very advanced, or what they call a full hybrid. Now, I could rattle off horsepower and torque numbers, but those aren't the point on a car like this. MPG numbers are, and this guy's rated at 41 city, 36 highway. That's pretty good for a full-sized five-person sedan. I'm Brian Cooley for the Green Show. ^M00:01:42 >> Mark LeSaya: Now if you or someone you know is in the market for a new Milan or any new vehicle, Cash for Clunkers kicks off in the US this week. It's a program that lets drivers exchange their old vehicle for between $3500 and $4500 cash towards the purchase of a new and more fuel efficient vehicle. Ford launched the site letfordrecycleyourride.com that will tell you if you're eligible for the program, and incidentally, the Sierra Club launched an online Cash for Clunkers calculator. You enter in the miles per gallon of your clunker and your perspective vehicle, and the tool will calculate your estimated annual dollar, CO2 and fuel savings. On the subject of fuel, a company has discovered a new way to make ethanol. Dual Biotechnologies is working on making ethanol and other liquid fuels using microorganisms that feed off sunlight and CO2. The engineered organisms use photosynthesis and a water solution, and Dual claims it can produce 20,000 gallons of ethanol per acre each year with an energy equivalent of less than $50 per barrel. The current price of oil is around $68 per barrel. Moving right along, two companies in the UK are taking baby steps into smart grid technology. The site realtimecarbon.org shows the amount of carbon generated from the UK grid, but the electric company Ecotricity takes it a step further, listing the live data with the breakdown on what energy sources are used from fossil fuels and nuclear to renewable energy. Both sites don't match up perfectly with their numbers, but we get the general gist. Ecotricity's percentage breakdown will tell you peak times when energy demand is highest. So basically during those times, read a book or play kickball. And that's it for this week. Next week, I will be on vacation, but Natalie Del Conti [assumed spelling] will be hosting the Green Show, so I know you'll check it out. Send your feedback into firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm Mark LeSaya. Thanks for watching. ^M00:03:31 [ Music ]