Listen to the sounds of the kerosene truck, doing the rounds of the neighborhood.
With the coming of colder weather, one of the door-to-door vending operations that you see and especially hear a lot more of in Japan is the kerosene truck. It does its very slow rounds of the neighborhood, stopping every few meters for residents to come out with their billycans.
Central heating in Japan is not a technology that has ever caught on. Of course there is the unit air conditioner and the electric heater, but the method of heating with the longest vintage is the kerosene stove. Kerosene stoves are part of the landscape of old Japan and are an almost essential feature in winter of school classrooms and mom & pop stores.
A kerosene heater is, indeed, efficient. It is pumping out full heat after just a few minutes and warms a room more quickly than an air conditioner. Depending on the price of kerosene in any one region, it is considered to be slightly cheaper than using electricity, too. Even today, kerosene is a focus of new technology. The Eneos Ecoboy was developed just this year as the world’s first kerosene-powered fuel cell able to provide a home with 50 to 60 percent of its electricity and most of its hot water.
Shell Oil has developed what it calls Clean Kerosene (the words emblazoned on the truck in the photo above) which is non-fossil fuel kerosene made from natural gas and is apparently completely odorless.
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006
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