The Seoul City Government announced on Feb. 9 that it will pursue an initiative to reduce air pollution by installing heating devices on taxi that can work even when the engine is off.
According to Seoul City, idling taxis are a significant contributor to pollution. Taxi drivers spend an average of four hours or more per day waiting for passengers. They usually leave their cars running while they wait to keep themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Data compiled by the Korea Energy Management Corporation shows that when cars with 1500cc engines idle for five minutes, 90g of CO2 is emitted and 100cc of fuel, which can propel the car up to 1.2km, is wasted.
Air pollutants originating from cars represent 63 percent of the total, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, fuel is wasted when allowing idling vehicles to run their engines.
To address the problem, Seoul City made a device last year that can gather up to 90 degrees of heat from a coolant system in the engine while the car is running. The gathered heat can be used for heating the car when the engine is turned off. The heating device is composed of an engine hour meter, a circulating pump, and an auxiliary battery.
The city government installed the device on a test taxi for the month of December last year as an experiment. After turning off the engine and circulating water up to 90 degrees, the time necessary for the temperature inside the taxi to drop to 36.5 degrees was measured. It was found that it was possible to heat the car for over 35 minutes.
After using the device for 99.2 hours, the car saved 118.8L of fuel, or 131,860 won (US$120.36). On top of that, it was possible to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by 106 kg.
Currently, 70,000 taxis are operating in Seoul. If they all installed the device, they could collectively save 67.1 billion won (US$61.2 million) if they used it for four hours per day for six months.
Also, the city is expected to save a total of 1.8 billion won (US$1.6 million) from a reduction in CO2 emissions.