Measurement and Testing
What Are The Alternative Fuels for Cars?
Dec 04 2018 Read 293 Times
Unless you’ve been in hiding for the past few years, you’re probably aware of the need for change to save our environment. Global warming is on the rise and shows little sign of slowing down. Pollution is at an all-time high, with fuel-powered vehicles causing more damage than ever.
However, a car is essential to most people’s lives. It’s used to get to work, pick up the kids and travel the country. That said, finding a fuel alternative could be the answer to keeping our beloved vehicles, without continuing to harm our planet.
In our six-part series on alternative fuels, we’ve explored the pros and cons of each fuel type. This post, the last of the series, will cover all of the key information you need to know…
Hydrogen powered cars run solely on hydrogen, converting the energy from the gas into electrical energy by passing it through a fuel cell. These types of vehicles produce only water and heat as by-products, rather than the harmful carbon emissions let off by traditional fuel burning.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are on the rise, with a proposed £23 million fund to boost the use of hydrogen as a fuel source across the UK. So, there’s never been a better time to make the switch and convert your car to hydrogen.
The most popular form of green vehicles, electric cars produce little harmful emissions as they are powered primarily on electricity. Owners can plug their vehicle in at night, charge the battery using their own energy supply and their car will run using the energy from the battery pack.
Electric cars, typically, are hybrid vehicles meaning they use both petrol and electricity in combination. So, if your car was to run out of battery, it could switch to fuel automatically meaning you’re never left high and dry.
Biofuel isn’t a new fuel source, but it remains one of the best. It is made from crop and animal produce, such as sugar cane and animal fats, which is then fermented or heated to produce energy. This energy can then be used to fuel your car, costing you less for fuel and helping to protect our planet.
Typically, biofuel isn’t used on its own. It’s combined with small amounts of petrol or diesel. So, it’s not entirely renewable, but it can reduce our fossil fuel consumption drastically.
Liquified petroleum gas is a popular energy source for heating and cooking in mobile homes and caravans. Surprisingly, it’s not as popular on the roads. Formed during the extraction of natural gas and oil and during the refinement of crude oil, LPG was previously wasted as an unnecessary by-product.
Now, it’s used as a low-carbon, high energy source and can be used instead of, or in conjunction with, traditional fuel sources. With an LPG conversion, your vehicle will be capable of running off both LPG and conventional fuel. The fuel alternative produces next-to-no particulates and dramatically reduces your carbon footprint.
An uncommon and rarely-seen fuel alternative is the use of a thermoelectric generator in a vehicle. While not strictly being an alternative, as it works by converting wasted heat from fuel into energy, it’s an innovative way of preserving your fuel and boosting the energy efficiency of your vehicle.
With further research and developing technologies, thermoelectricity could be an alternative fuel source of the future.
Saving the environment
It’s not just alternatively fuelled vehicles that can save the environment. There’s also plenty of potential from renewable energy more broadly. Wind turbines are one way to harness this energy, but not everything is as simple as it looks. The article ‘Lubrication of Wind Turbines is Anything but a Breeze’ looks at some of the complications when it comes to harnessing wind energy.
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