Interesting Transportation Fuels

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Things like air pollution and global warming are direct results of decades of petroleum use. The geo-political stability of the planet is greatly affected by petroleum use as most of it comes from the volatile Middle East. Here is a list of some of those alternative fuels:

1. Methanol

Methanol is a plant-based fuel. Methanol is made from a synthesis gas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) that is derived from plant sources. It may be utilized in flexible fuel cars designed to run on M85, which is a blend of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline. Not that this isn’t the same as E85 flex fuel cars that are designed to burn ethanol.

2. Ethanol

Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel that’s made by distilling fermented crops such as corn, barley or wheat. Ethanol may be used to power vehicles with special engines or blended with gasoline and used in modern-day engines. In some countries, such as Brazil, ethanol is a commonly available fuel and is a serious alternative to gasoline.

3. Biodiesel

Biodiesel: another plant-based alternative fuel. Instead of using a fermentation process, however, biodiesel is created by taking out oils from certain animal fats and plants. It’s easy to use because present internal combustion engines may be converted to burn biodiesel in pure form. It may also be added to petroleum diesel and used in unmodified engines.

4. Hydrogen

Today, hydrogen is tested on a limited scale in California with a series of hydrogen refueling stations and a hydrogen-powered car. Basically hydrogen-powered cars are electric vehicles but the electricity comes from the chemical reaction that happens when oxygen and hydrogen are combined in fuel cells. While hydrogen cars don’t pollute, critics voice concerns that converting the United States to a hydrogen-based energy infrastructure would be a huge affair.

5. Electricity

Electricity may be utilized as a transportation “fuel” for electric vehicles (EVs). Electric vehicles store power in batteries that are recharged by plugging the car into an electrical source. A criticism of EVs is that while they might not generate pollution themselves, the electricity generation process could be polluting. This, of course, is true, especially if the power generation plant is coal-based. If the electricity is generated via solar, hydro or wind methods, then the system is doesn’t cause pollution. This is what the Service team at Don Vance Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Marshfield, MO tells us. Don Vance is a full-service car dealership.

Will any of the vehicles powered with alternative fuels rise to the top to challenge petroleum? With most of the fuels discussed, it’s unlikely because of the distribution infrastructure involved. The most promising one is electricity and several manufacturers are creating plug-in EVs and hybrids today.

The cars, trucks and aircraft we use in the U.S. are all petroleum powered and we are dealing with some of the side effects of that. Why not try out an alternative fuel when you get a chance, just to see how you like it?

  

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