When you mention vehicles and driving, you usually don’t think about the environment and sustainability. However, many industries and businesses within them are aware of environmental issues nowadays. Therefore, the automotive industry can also switch to renewable sources and become more eco-friendly. The very first thing that people can do is to inform themselves about alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. In this article, we will cover the most significant alternative fuel sources that you can consider using for your vehicle. Keep in mind that a few of these are still in the testing process.
Car companies are already transforming vehicles into electric or hybrid ones. Many people are still not entirely sure how they work. There are many different ways. Electric cars can work by storing electricity in batteries, and can be recharged by plugging them into charge points. The availability of charging stations has drastically expanded recently. Since they produce no emissions, electric cars are an eco-friendly option. Even though they cost more to buy, over time, electric vehicles will pay for themselves.
Once you liquefy or compress it, natural gas becomes a useful option because it burns cleanly. Even though it is made of methane (a non-renewable resource), its counterpart is biomethane, which is a renewable resource made of organic materials. There are many significant advantages to natural gas. It is available on the market at a low cost, and it produces lower emissions. Even though there are a few vehicles on the market that have engines for this fuel source, you can still find engine conversion kits, and start using natural gas.
Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oil, animal fat, and restaurant grease. Even though there are multiple similarities with petroleum-based diesel, it has the benefit of performing well in cold weather. Such fuel is eco-friendly because it provides clean air and protects the atmosphere. Therefore, every conscious diesel driver should consider this option. Also, it has much less negative effects on the environment, and it is less combustible than petroleum. Almost every diesel vehicle can run on biodiesel. But still, check your car first before you decide to use biodiesel.
Hemp has a lot of benefits and a lot of applications. Different parts of the plant are used in the food, paper and textile industries, also as a resource for making fuel. Hemp fibers are used in a process of making two types of fuel – biodiesel and ethanol (and methanol, but rarely). It is one of the most cost-efficient, sustainable fuel alternatives.
Through processes such as acid hydrolysis or gasification, hemp can be used in making both methanol and ethanol. On the other hand, hemp biodiesel is a name for all varieties of ester fuels made from hemp oil. It runs in any classic and conventional diesel vehicle, and you can store it wherever you store petroleum.
Usage of hemp biodiesel can extend the life of your diesel engine, and also, it provides a pleasant smell of hemp or popcorn.
Major car companies are still not switching to ethanol because it contains less energy than gasoline. However, it still can be used in flexible fuel vehicles, and also in pure gasoline as an aid in its oxygenation. The combination of renewable resources that are used in making ethanol is called “biomass”. Most of the time, biomass consists of sugar, hemp, corn, or woodchips. Its chemical formula always remains the same, whatever resource you choose for making it. And finally, the liquid is colourless and clear, which is another reason why this option should always get into consideration.
Methanol has a lot of similar properties as ethanol. It is a product of natural gas and is also called “wood alcohol”. You get methanol when a synthesized form of gas gets fed into the reactor. The most significant advantages of methanol are a low risk of flammability, low production cost, and the potential to increase the availability of fuel. However, during the 90s, people chose ethanol over methanol as a fuel oxygenator. Nowadays, in the US, no vehicle runs methanol, and that is the crucial reason why this renewable fuel source is slowly disappearing from the scene.
Solar cars recently came to the market. They contain more than 200 solar cells and living moss in the dash to have natural air filtration. Those cars run off both electric and solar power because solar energy only provides you with 20 miles worth of power. Even though solar energy is still unreliable as a complete energy source, it can still help in reducing your carbon footprint, but only in combination with other resources.
Hydrogen is one of the most recent renewable sources. However, it is also one of the best because of its massive presence in the environment. You can find it in natural gas, water, or other organic materials. On top of that, it provides an efficient and quick way of providing vehicles with fuel. Five minutes’ worth of hydrogen can allow cars to run for more than 300 miles. It only produces water, so the emissions are non-existent. However, the market has to reduce costs of production and maintenance of vehicles if they want hydrogen to become a thing in the future.