Is there a silver lining to COVID-19?

May 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic caused stress, anxiety, and unemployment in greater amounts than anyone could have imagined. The amount of cases and deaths are devastatingly tragic. We have lost family, friends, and acquaintances and can’t even hold traditional funerals and memorials to say “goodbye” to these loved ones. Small businesses have also suffered by having to lay off good employees, endure temporary closures, and some even closing their doors forever. Turn on the news and it’s depressing.

Despite all of this negativity, there may be some positive coming out of this crisis that is not getting much news coverage – the better air quality. With a reduction in global vehicle traffic, air traffic, power plants, and industrial factories normally contributing to pollutants, the air quality is much improved. Northern India can now see the Himalayas after 3 decades of worsening air quality hiding the mountain range from their view.  Pollution over India has dropped 40-50% compared to a year ago. China has also seen a tremendous drop in nitrogen dioxide in 2020. Europe is seeing similar results with a nearly 50% reduction. The northeastern region of USA including Washington DC, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia shows a 30% drop.

Better air quality also reduces the spread of disease. “A high level of air pollution exacerbates viral uptake because it inflames and lowers immunity,” says Paul Monks, professor of air pollution at the University of Leicester. Another benefit of a low-carbon environment is a boost in agricultural plant growth formally stunted by high pollution resulting in more plentiful crops.

This accidental experiment is proof that a low-carbon environment is achievable, something many skeptics have touted as impossible in the past. While we likely cannot keep the vehicle and air traffic to such low usage levels and industrial factories to continue producing reduced amount of goods (i.e. reduced pollutants) when the pandemic is over, we might be able to convince the world to use better, smarter sources of power for these contributors.  Electric motors exist for all of these pollutant contributors mentioned above. Electric motors, powered by magnetics, can make a huge impact in that ideal state of reduced pollutants we have all been hoping for. Electric motors that ePropelled and other companies are creating are proving to be more efficient, smaller, lighter, and smarter with additional features not seen before in induction motors.

The Earth is healing during this crisis. Why would anyone want to go back to the poor air quality levels we saw a year ago or removing that majestic mountain range from your rooftop view? Give electric a chance to take over and we may just start to solve the climate change problem.