Can Cars Run off Anything other than Petrol or Diesel?
The price of petrol and diesel is on the rise as the availability decreases, but is there an alternative to the widely used liquids used to power your car?
Natural Gas Vehicles
The desirable traits of natural gas over petrol or diesel include; clean burning characteristics that increase engine life, lower carbon emissions and can withstand a higher level of safety risk in the event of a crash or collision.
In 2011 over 14.5 million vehicles were powered by natural gas, most popular in countries such as Iran, India and Pakistan. Natural gas vehicles are more commonly used within the US and UK in the use of trucks and transit buses, with 1 in 5 transit buses across the US, running off of liquefied natural gas – obtainable through the cooling process of natural gas.
To refuel your vehicle a flexible hose is locking into your car and the predetermined amount of gas is transported to your car. As of 2014 there are 1,400 forecourts that sell and dispense natural gas.
Biodiesel is fuel created in the process called transesterification*. When substances such as vegetable oil, animal oil or fats, tallow and waste cooking oil undergo this process they create biofuel. Biodiesel can run in standard diesel engines, which has lots of advantages.
One advantage is the fact that it is carbon neutral because the carbon produced when running a biodiesel car was absorbed by the plants when they were growing. The engine life is also thought to be longer when using biodiesel as it runs smoother and lasts longer. Unlike using a hybrid of two different fuel sources to power your car, biodiesel can be mixed with diesel so there is no need for a spate tank. Biodiesel is available from fuel stations throughout the UK – and availability is not an issue as regular environmentally hazardous diesel can be used when biodiesel is not available.
However, the amount of crops harvested to widely use biodiesel would take up massive amounts of land and thus is not abundant enough to make a primary fuel source. The use of excess food oil, from cooking for example, is a great example of re-purposing old waste – helping the environment enormously.
A new substance to power your car is vastly advancing, with government funds being used to delve the UK into the new age of electricity powered cars. Electricity is currently the leading, and by far most optimal and popular solution to alternative power sources. Car manufacturers have also set out to increase the usage of EVs (electrical vehicles) as most popular manufacturers have already released or in the making of releasing an electric car to their range. Since 2006 electric cars have been increasing on the streets whilst helping decrease CO2 emissions.
Electric cars are not powered by the combustible liquids pumped into your car, but the electricity stored within the car’s batteries. Although primarily more expensive that the petrol/diesel powered comparable car, the running costs are much lower as road tax is free in the UK and if you are driving up to 40 miles a day, ranging your monthly fuel cost to around £200, would only cost around £10-£15 cost of electricity.
However, currently if you are driving more than 40 miles a day than an electric car may not be suitable for you just yet, the range the car is capable of and the availability of charging stations in some areas may be limited.
If you would like tailored information for your suitability for an electric car, the new, innovative device cleanPEA can help with the fear of the unknown. Visit http://www.cleanpea.com/cleanpea-removes-fear-of-the-unknown/ for more information.
*In organic chemistry, transesterification /ˌtrænzˌɛstərɨfɨˈkeɪʃən/ is the process of exchanging the organic group R″ of an ester with the organic group R′ of an alcohol. These reactions are often catalyzed by the addition of an acid or base catalyst.
Blog written by Alex Prescot September 2015