Which Fuel Will You Choose in the Future?

By: Peter Collins

Alarming levels of carbon emissions have had carmakers and investors scurrying for alternative fuels. There may come a time when all that is needed to run your vehicle is water, but that may not become possible till our heads grey.

The need for alternative fuels

Plans for getting other viable fuels that are practical and pollute less are on the anvil, as automobile manufacturers are considering a shift to electric, hybrid and flex-fuel engines, while some new carmakers are considering coming out with a new car altogether -a green one. Adapting either of these may take time and money -but the effort is worth it, simply because we and our future generations can breathe easy, in more than one sense.

Bio-fuels of the future
Among the frontrunners of tomorrow's fuel is ethanol, which is poised to take an early lead. But Butanol may catch up with it fast, since it is renewable, and can be made of corn, sugarcane, or beets. It pollutes lesser than gasoline, and causes less corrosion, and is evaporable.

Another advantage it enjoys over ethanol is that it can be transported through existing refinery pipelines, while ethanol has to be trucked from refineries to fuel stations. Because of its higher content of energy, it can be refueled on fewer occasions. Big companies like British Petroleum and Dupont are putting money into this resource.

Fuel-cells
Another good alternative being considered is Fuel cell vehicles (FCV), which can use burnt hydrogen or fuels rich in hydrogen, as fuel. This is plentifully available in nature, but is a little expensive to produce for use on such a scale. Manufacturers such as General Motors, BMW and Honda have already introduced FCV prototypes.

Fate of the electric car
Do all these developments sound the death knell of the electric car? The amazing thing is, just when people were writing its obituary, it is making a resurrection in a new form altogether. As Aptera has shown with its totally redesigned model, the electric car can be both powerful and phenomenally economical, with fuel efficiency of the equivalent of 300 mpg on the hybrid model!

So, the choice you will have to make is whether to opt for Butanol, hydrogen or electricity for your vehicles and bid the gas station good bye!

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