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Alternative Fuels

Essay by   •  February 2, 2011  •  Essay  •  970 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,095 Views

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The increase in oil prices, depleting fossil fuel deposits and ominous signs of global warming, have caused people to start to care about what fuels the things they use everyday. Some people are turning to alternative fuels that were dismissed as unnecessary when they were thought up. Ethanol and methanol are very popular options and some vehicles already run on used French-fry oil in modified diesel engines. Most fleets of delivery vans and taxis run on natural gas and electric cars are always having new advancements in efficiency. Ethanol is most likely to be the successor to gasoline because it is put in gasoline already at all the public pumps, and world production is continually increasing.

In scientific studies, many gasoline alternatives look ideal to replace petroleum based fuels with. Unfortunately, the engines will take new forms of engine design to accommodate alternative fuels, and energy companies have to rethink how to manage new fuels, before very many people can live and work in a petroleum free future. Money is also a major issue. The talks about future alternative energy sources are mostly held in a context that does not include money. There are 25.642.188 registered vehicles in Canada. Around 18 million of these are gasoline powered.

Ethanol is also known as ethyl alcohol, E85 is the most widely used form of ethanol fuel in road vehicles, it is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Most ethanol, like moonshine which is basically pure ethanol, is made from grains such as corn. There are also techniques of extracting it from plants devoted to ethanol production. E85 needs to have some gasoline in it or else the car wont start on cold days. Airliners have always been powered by ethanol fuel. This is because they need something clean burning to fuel their precision built engines. This clean burning is much better for engines than burning gasoline and potentially can deliver more horsepower because of it.

A negative aspect of ethanol is that alcohol is a very corrosive solvent. Many things can be harmed by alcohol if they are not treated or made to resist it, this would have to be very extensive protection on many of the parts of the car and it would be very expensive. Growing corn is a much more energy consuming process involving many more steps than oil refining.

Ethanol still remains the number one fuel of the future. It will not be alone in biofuel sources, ethanol were to take over petroleum based fuels in North America, it would need to have about 75 percent of the available farmland.

Methanol or methyl alcohol is sold in M85 format, like E85 it is 85% methyl alcohol and 15% gasoline. Methanol is commercially produced through a heat based process that turns methane into methyl alcohol. Methanol is a very potent fuel with a high octane rating (100) and is much more powerful and efficient than gasoline.

Methanol is even more corrosive than ethanol and must be expensively transported. It also burned with a dangerous invisibility and with no smoke someone would never be able to see a methane fire if there was one. The last vehicle that could be fuelled by M85 was sold in 1999 and since then the technology has been virtually abandoned.

Natural gas can be a very powerful fuel in compressed form, and is available in many underground deposits around the world. It is made up of mostly methane (50 TO 100%) and the methane is the main gas the engine would run on. It has an octane rating of 130 and because it doesnÐŽ¦t produce much heat and is ignited

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