According to the present conditions, these days the best invention will be an Alternative Fuel. We thought that the automobile engine is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Then we started working for petroleum fuel. Mining for crudes, making oil refineries, etc become our priority for of course reason. But these days, one of the major reasons for pollution is engine exhaust.
Everything has its ban and boom. But it is a human tendency to criticize someone or something according to their comfort. When anything goes good then we enjoy that but when it becomes bad then same we started to criticize. Well, another good thing about us is that we gave the ability to fix almost everything. And here we will discuss this fixation by finding the alternative to fuel. I ranked it from the best to the good. So let’s start.
# 1 BIODIESEL
According to my views, Biodiesel should be the priority for us as an alternative fuel. Most people think that electricity should be first. We will discuss that later. Now just think that if you have an alternative to fuel for which you don’t have to change the engine according to that. Biodiesel is that fuel. If you want to use it as fuel. You don’t have to modify the engine for biodiesel. We can use biodiesel directly by replacing diesel.
Biodiesel is long-chain fatty acid esters, derived from plants or animals (lipids or oils). It is prepared by a reaction between oils and alcohol. The oil used in the reaction can be any kind of vegetable oil, soybean oil, or animal fat. Some reasons make it to the top of my list.
- We can use biodiesel in place of diesel directly without any engine modification.
- The price of biodiesel will not be affected by global issues as it can easily be made in our country.
- The carbon emission of biodiesel is approx 2661 Gram per gallon. It is less than 4 times that of petroleum diesel fuel.
- The cost of biodiesel is approx Rs 30 per litre (making cost). Currently, the price of biodiesel is approx Rs 70 per litre. It is because of its availability. If the government thinks about making biodiesel plants then it will be not that much costlier.
- There is no harm to the environment due to the leakage of biodiesel.
- The flashpoint of biodiesel is 130° Celsius, three times more than diesel. That means the risk of catching fire is also low by three times.
- The manufacturing plant for biodiesel is also lower than petroleum diesel refineries. A plant of approx Rs 30 crore, can produce 30 tons of bio-diesel per day.
# 2 ELECTRICITY
With zero carbon emission, electricity is a good example of alternative fuel. We need only the battery and motor in place of the engine and all set. Many companies presented their electric cars with awesome features. I also discussed the cheapest electric cars in India. Some companies like Apple started to work on smart cars based on electric fuel platforms. By all these, we think it is the best option so far. But In my opinion, there is a problem. Well, we know that electric cars are good for the environment because of zero emission. But does electricity production is?
Does electricity is a zero-emission alternative to fuel?
Sources of electricity worldwide were coal and peat 40%, natural gasses 25%, hydroelectric 15%, nuclear power 10%, solar/tidal/other 5%, oil 3% and biomass/waste 2%. These are the approximate values in the last 3 years. According to these figures, we understand that approx 80% of the sources emit carbon directly for the production of electricity. So first we have to produce zero-emission electricity then we can continue to produce more electric cars. Otherwise, massive electric car production indirectly leads to more pollution to achieve the fuel demand.
Another thing we have to focus on electric battery recycling and waste battery disposal methods. Because these two are the by-products of this alternative fuel.
# 3 HYDROGEN
More than alternative fuel, hydrogen is an expected future fuel too. Energy density, as well as heat value of hydrogen, is more than petrol or diesel. That means hydrogen is the most efficient fuel. Also, the emission of a hydrogen-fueled vehicle is just water. We can use hydrogen as fuel cells or by burning with oxygen. A hydrogen fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen. It converts chemical energy into electric energy and produces heat and water too. Toyota Mirai was the first-ever hydrogen cell fueled ca. Followed by Hyundai Nexo and Hyundai Clarity. So why hydrogen can’t make it to the top of my list?
So what is the problem?
Approx 98% of Hydrogen produced by steam forming method worldwide. And in this process carbon dioxide is emitted. So this method is not good for the environment. While the other methods are too expensive. And this will not be a sustainable option. Another thing with hydrogen is that is so dangerous. The danger of electric shock and flammability are the two prime dangers of hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Now you can understand why biodiesel should be the priority for us to reduce automobile pollution. But it is a solution of only diesel engines. So what about petrol engines? We have a solution for that too. i.e. Biopetrol or Biogasoline. These are alcohols, not hydrocarbons but can be used in internal combustion engines. Although, energy density is lower than petrol still it can be used in flex-fuel engines, which I already discussed in a previous article on Car News (April): Auto News, Upcoming cars, Review.
Some other alternative fuels are there which I didn’t mention in the list. Because they can’t be used as a primary fuel. They are kinetic energy and heat energy. These options can be used as a subsidiary fuel. When the car brakes, there is a loss of kinetic energy, And this kinetic energy can be converted into electric energy. Nowadays many cars come with Brake energy regenerative system to do this so. While the amount of waste heat from the vehicle can be converted into electricity by thermoelectric technology. This technology is in development mode.
Based on all this information, I surely can say that we are not yet developed an alternative fuel model. And Petrol and diesel are not sustainable models anymore. So the world will surely move to these alternative fuel options. But we have to make sure that these options are completely pollution-free and valuable and sustainable. And to achieve that goal scientists have to work hard. Because the goal is not only to develop a fuel option but also to make it available and affordable for everyone. And we also have to think that electricity is not the best option until now. We have to move to the non-conventional method to produce electricity.