Alternative fuels

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Alternative fuels are non-conventional fuels which are used as alternatives to fossil fuels, or conventional fuels of petroleum (oil), coal, propane, hydrogen, and natural gas. The term "alternative fuels" usually refers to a source of energy, which is renewable. These alternative fuels are biodiesel, compressed natural gas, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, methanol and propane.


Why should I be aware of this

It is high time we reduced our dependency on oil, because oil is probably finite and we are fast running out of cheap sources of oil. Also our present means of generating the energy is damaging to the atmosphere.

Alternative fuels and health

Alternative fuels help prevent a number of human health issues that petroleum based fuels are directly linked to. Today, with with medical advancements in diagnostic tools crude oil was found to be even more hazardous to humans than previously thought.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency lists diesel fumes as one of its highest concerns for public health and air pollution. As children breathe at a faster rate than adults, they are at a higher risk.

All about alternative fuels

Biodiesel, produced from renewable resources such as soybeans is biodegradable and nontoxic, and can be used with no major modifications to diesel engines. In a conventional diesel engine bio-fuel reduces unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and other emissions as compared to diesel fuel.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is clear, odorless, non-corrosive and burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel fuel.

Electric vehicles have zero emissions and are powered by a battery which can either be recharged by an on-board charger or plugged into an external charger. Unlike in the early days, today electric vehicles travel at the same speeds as other fuel vehicles. They also provide the same safety and have the same performance capabilities.

Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is produced from fermented and distilled corn. Generally, it is blended with gasoline in concentrations ranging from 5 to 10%. The differences between gasoline and ethanol is that it takes 1/3 more ethanol to travel the same difference as gasoline.

Hydrogen, in its gaseous state, is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic and burns clean. Today, hydrogen is produced from natural gas through reforming a process which uses heat to separate hydrogen from hydrocarbons. Water and biomass are also used to produce hydrogen.

Fuel cells produce electricity from a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen ion in a cell. When hydrogen is used as a fuel, water and heat are the by products. A fuel cell "stack" requires fuel, oxidant and coolant in order to operate.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG), the liquid form of natural gas, is produced by cooling natural gas below its boiling point. Clear, colorless, odorless, non-corrosive and non-toxic, LNG is transported from countries with large natural gas reserves, such as Algeria, Australia, Indonesia, Libya, Malaysia and Nigeria.

Methanol, or methyl alcohol, is another clean-burning liquid alternative fuel, generally produced from natural gas, but can also be produced from coal and biomass crops, such as sugar cane.

Propane, also known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), is another alternative fuel produced as part of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Propane fuel helps reduce vehicle maintenance costs, fuel costs and emissions


  • Alternative Fuels Help Fight High Gasoline Prices