The Importance of Alternative Fuels
As we know, fossil fuel reserves are on the verge of running out and the fumes they produce are extremely bad for the environment. Fortunately, today’s world is doing more and more to prevent pollution caused by burning and producing them. Most cities around the globe are banning diesel cars, governments are convincing large numbers of people to buy electric cars, EV companies are improving their electric vehicles round the clock. However, a lot of people are discouraged by the charging time, cost and fast devaluation.
If only there was a way to fuel cars the same way we are used to, without hurting the environment. Wait, there is?
The answer we’re looking for is biofuel.
Biofuels are an often overlooked subject. Unfortunately, Teslas shot into space and autonomous Uber cars get all the media attention and this should change. It’s important to spread awareness of other alternatives and scientists should put more time into developing new energy sources. So far the five main biofuels are:
Biodiesel: which is produced out of animal fats or vegetable oils being reacted with short-chain alcohols such as ethanol or methanol. It is not a completely clean fuel, as burning it does cause a certain degree of pollution. It’s still being improved and we should hope that the first step will make it purely vegetable derived as using animal fat does not help the environment, it hurts it even more.
Bioalcohol: which is made with fermented sugars and starch gathered from crops such as sugarcane, corn and wheat. It is not entirely a separate fuel, as it is more of an additive to preserve whatever fossil fuel we have left. This is good on one hand, as it will help prolong the reserves that will inevitably run out, yet it does not stop pollution in any way.
Waste that can be turned into gases known as LFGs (Landfill Gases): by going through an anaerobic digestion process. About 450,000 cubic feet of biogas per day could be made out of 1 million tonnes of MSW (municipal solid waste). It can be used as any other gas due to a high percentage of methane. It helps the environment by recycling waste, but it still needs improving as it may pollute the air.
Algae-derived fuels which are surprisingly made from algae: they are one of the best alternatives to fossil fuel so far. They consume CO2 and can be grown anywhere without harm to the environment (they don’t cause mass land devastation when farmed). Also, researchers say that algae fuel could be between 10-100 times more productive than other bioenergy feedstocks.
Solar Panels also known as PV panels: Ok, so they’re not fuel per se, but they can be used to ‘fuel’ cars. This is the most clean form of energy we will ever have (unless scientists come up with something better than the Sun). This technology needs to be further developed, as we don’t have the means to harvest the full potential of solar rays yet. On average, the best solar panel has an efficacy of around 22%, gathering anywhere between 100W to 365W of power. To put this into perspective, an electric car uses around 34kWh to travel the distance of around a 100 miles.
This is why awareness is important. The more people know about fossil fuel alternatives, the more big companies will start investing into research and improving the technology necessary to produce clean, effective and renewable power sources.
About the Author: Giles Kirkland is a dedicated car expert with passion for travelling and helping the environment. He enjoys commenting on newly-emerging green technologies and willingly shares his knowledge with other sustainable living enthusiasts.
This infographic was originally posted on: https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/why-we-need-biofuels-for-a-green-future
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