Fuel consumption is growing at an alarming rate because of the large influx of drivers on the road and, the increase in demand for travelling. Since the current fossil fuels used by many vehicles are not effective, drivers are turning to alternative fuels which are reliable and more efficient. In the modern world, it is of imperative importance that government and industries act jointly in the effort of increasing fuel efficiency.
Fuel efficiency is more important when the cost and inefficiency of the current fuel is considered. Research carried out to explore better ways of using alternative fuels. Survey shows that, many countries are concerned with global warming, environment and other related issues. It has not come to their minds that the cars they drive are the main source of these problems and, the alternative fuel they can use. Most of the fuels used today are petroleum fuels, gasoline or diesel.
Firstly, alternative and advanced energy has a value of reducing dependence on the foreign oil thus, saving money spent on the fuel cost and improving the quality of air. This research paper investigates on the effectiveness of alternative fuel for cars that find their application in today’s life. Alternative fuel include; biodiesel, methanol, ethanol, propane, electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen4. These fuels are clean to use with very little emissions and are also renewable, unlike fossil fuels. The alternative fuels above, were investigated for efficiency and the results recorded.
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Essentially, fuel energy consumption has been a point of issue in the global field. The issue of fuel energy utilization has been a matter of contention in the global arena. Some of the aspects debated include; the exhaustion of the fossil fuel and, the ever changing fuel prices that make fuel consumption to face different challenges. However, it is solved by coming up with ways in which other alternative fuels may be utilized. The cons of the petroleum utilization require majorly the disadvantages of using the product in the combustion process.
Consequently, the interdependency of different states in the countries in the creation of source of fuel has been a problem. Some countries have found it difficult, to invest in modern technology for fear of environmental degradation. Apparently, it is worth to mention also that, the economy would save its operating cost due the accessibility of locally available alternative fuels. The dispensation of these alternative fuels is a little bit cheaper than the normal fuel used. The aspect of effective fuel efficiency is brought about due to the ever growing population. This has made, majority of nations to advocate for other alternative sources of energy that enhance efficiency. This aims reducing the effects of pollution and depletion of natural resources. Some of the alternative fuels are discussed below.
Bio-fuel is renewable since, it is extracted from biomass organic matter like plants. This fuel generate almost the same amount of carbon dioxide as the fossil fuels, but plants that are a source of bio- fuel takes away a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere causing the net carbon dioxide emission to be closer to zero. Bio- fuel was found to have the capability of being reprocessed after use.
This is an ester that is similar to vinegar which is made from several kinds of oils, like vegetable oils and animal fats. Most of these oils are produced from recycled cooking oil and soybeans oil. This fuel can be used as a blend of twenty percent biodiesel and eighty percent petroleum diesel called B20 which was found to have great use in conventional diesel engine without any engine modification. This fuel was found to be much cleaner than petroleum diesel; it was found to burn up at 75% cleaner than the petroleum diesel fuel. This fuel also reduces unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter in exhaust fumes.
Biodiesel also contain no sulphur and thus reduces sulphur dioxide emission. Biodiesels were found to be environment friendly in that they are renewable and are more biodegradable than sugar. They have less toxicity when compared to salt. This fuel was found to have superior lubrication capability i.e. one percent of biodiesel added to petrol diesel increases lubricity by 65%. Biodiesel was also found to have higher cetane number than the petroleum diesel due to its content of oxygen. It was realized that the more the cetane number the fuel had, the more efficient it was and the more easily the engine could start, burn cleanly and run better.
The result from this research shows that, the most widely used alternative fuel for transportation is ethanol. It is an alcohol type of fuel that is typically made from corn or from byproducts of corn, by a process similar to that of brewing beer. It was found that cars that ran on ethanol have low carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emission than the traditional cars. In United States, it was found that more than 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline were blended to produce 90 percent gasoline and ten percent ethanol3. As a result, 10 percent of this ethanol was used across the whole country to improve vehicle performance and reduce pollution in the air. Modern cars that can use high blend of ethanol i.e. up to eighty five percent exist. They are referred to as flexible-fuel vehicles. Much controversy was found to exist in the cost, emission and the energy consumed to produce ethanol. Many believe that it is impractical and non economical.
This is an alcohol-based fuel which is usually produced from natural gas. It can also be produced from biomass and thus has great potential of reducing petroleum imports. Vehicle powered by methanol produce a small amount of air pollutants e.g. hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter. Study has shown that though methanol is considered toxic and hazardous, it has less toxic effect to human when compared to gasoline. Methanol also when exposed to the environment mixes readily with water and degrades quickly. When compared to gasoline which has greater and longer lasting effect to the environment, methanol has proved to be more efficient.
This contains a mixture of hydrocarbons and mostly methane. It is mainly produced either from gas wells or in combination with crude oil production. This gas was found to be clean in burning generating significantly less carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide when it was compared to similar fossil fuels. In the vehicle, it has the same application as liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas.
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is commonly referred to as propane, is made from a mixture of about ninety percent propane, two point five percent butane and contains a higher proportion of hydrocarbons4. The remaining balance is made from ethane and propane. Vehicles powered by propane were found not to run as fast as those powered by gasoline but, propane has low vehicle emissions. 64% of propane reactive organic compound emission was found to be less than that of gasoline. It also produces twenty percent less nitrogen oxide and twenty percent less carbon monoxide than a vehicle powered by gasoline.
When used in vehicles Electricity is considered to be a fuel. Electric vehicle utilizes various kinds of batteries to store electricity. It was found that though the electricity production by itself may cause air pollution, electric vehicle does not.
This is a relatively new different type of fuel. It is generally a combination of methylte-trahydrofuran (MTHF), ethanol, pentanes and butane. Both ethanol and methylte-trahydrofuran, can be produced from renewable biomass which has less discharge when compared to gasoline.
In conclusion, it is obvious that, the issue of fuel efficiency needed to be taken seriously in today’s society. Steps need to be taken towards improving the fuel efficiency. However, it should be understood that the measure taken take time and recognition of a fuel that is 100% efficient cannot be reached overnight. But as the problem is understood and proper steps continue to be taken, then alternative energy will eventually find full realization and consequently proper utilization.
Fuel efficiency can be achieved by all vehicles in the near future. Today, researchers are working on fuel cell component with much efficiency when their weight size and cost are considered. Though the researchers are encountering some obstacles, fuel cell technology will provide cost competitive transportation and energy efficient that will lower emissions and reduce dependence on petroleum.