4 Alternative Fuels That Can Boost Environmental Sustainability
The world is facing environmental crises in all aspects, and the depletion of natural resources is one of the biggest crises. This depletion of natural resources is aiding in environmental degradation in the form of pollution. Thus, the automobile industry is under a lot of pressure to come up with alternative fuels that will be efficient to power the vehicle or car engine while reducing emissions into the atmosphere.
Traditional fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel are on the brink of extinction and, if not managed properly, might completely go off-limits for future generations.
In this blog, there will be a discussion about the top 4 alternative fuels that can boost environmental sustainability, along with the challenges that they are facing at the present moment.
Need For Alternative Fuels
Let us first consider all the reasons why we need to look for alternative fuels in the automotive industry.
- Exhausting resources: The fossil fuels that we are currently using took millions of years to form, and that too under some specific conditions. The rate at which we are using them is much higher than the rate of replenishment, leading to the possibility of complete depletion in the future. Thus, transitioning to alternatives will help slow down the process.
- Environmental pollution: The burning of fossil fuels releases a lot of harmful gases like nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and even some particulate matter into the air, raising health concerns. These fumes from regular inhalation cause respiratory issues, heart problems and even premature deaths.
- Energy security: Many countries are dependent on other countries and outer supplies for their fuel needs. If there are alternative fuels available that can be produced domestically, then these countries will not be vulnerable to abrupt supplies and fluctuating prices, resulting in energy security.
- Climate change: One of the greatest and most important issues affecting our planet right now is climate change. The combustion of fossil fuels, which is responsible for a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, has caused ecosystem changes, an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and a rise in global temperatures. Utilizing alternative fuels can help lessen the effects of climate change and cut down on carbon emissions.
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What are the alternative fuels available?
Let us now concentrate on the list of alternative fuels.
- Ethanol: Ethanol as the name suggests, is an alcohol-based fuel primarily produced from the fermentation of sugars from the crops of sugarcane, corn, and wheat. Most often, it is used in petrol blends like E10, which contains 10% ethanol and 90% petrol, or E85, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% petrol. This is because they emit less carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases; therefore, they are considered a fuel because they burn clearer than other fuels.
- Biodiesel: A sustainable substitute for conventional diesel fuel, biodiesel is produced from biodegradable resources like vegetable or animal fats or even leftover cooking oil. With substantially lower carbon emissions than traditional diesel, it is a desirable choice for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Many diesel-powered cars and equipment may easily switch to biodiesel since it doesn’t require significant modifications to run on current diesel engines.
- Hydrogen: Many people proclaim hydrogen as the ultimate pure fuel. Hydrogen and oxygen mix in a fuel cell to produce energy, with the only byproduct being water. As a result, hydrogen is an emission-free fuel that may be used for a variety of purposes, including industrial and automotive ones. However, before hydrogen is widely used, several important issues with its production and storage must be resolved.
- Natural gas: This is again a fossil fuel but is considered to be an alternative in its liquified form when used for transportation purposes. Compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquified natural gas (LNG) are popular alternatives because they are cleaner than gasoline and diesel. This is an appealing option for heaving transportation and public vehicles due to lesser emissions and cleaner burning.
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Challenging challenges must be overcome
Though the alternative fuel options look appealing, there are a few challenges that must be overcome before they can be incorporated into day-to-day life. These challenges include,
- Costs: The production cost of these alternative fuels is higher than that of traditional fossil fuels due to economies of scale. As a result, when using these technologies, consumers frequently incur increased prices. Incentives and subsidies from the government can aid in closing this cost difference and promote the usage of alternative fuels.
- Infrastructure: As most of the fuel stations are built for traditional fuels, building new stations and centers for these alternative fuels will be a costly affair. Also, these alternative fuels will require a wide-spread network of terminals at regular intervals for convenient delivery.
- Technological advancements: For alternative fuel technologies to become more affordable and efficient, research and development must continue. For alternative fuels to be successful in the long run, improvements in battery technology for electric automobiles, biofuel production, and the creation of more effective ways for producing hydrogen are all essential.
- Energy density: Some alternative fuels, like hydrogen and electricity, have lower energy density in comparison to traditional fuels. This means that while using these alternatives, the automobile will require a larger tank and frequent fueling to ensure efficient driving.
A critical first step in the right approach towards environmental sustainability is the adoption of alternative fuels. It is essential that people actively participate in this shift, as well as society as a whole. This transformation requires us to embrace renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, support government policies that encourage and regulate the use of cleaner fuels, and make educated decisions about how we travel. Furthermore, since the switch to cleaner energy sources is a lengthy process, patience and encouragement for further advancement in the field are crucial.
Alternative fuels are going to be more widely available and more reasonably priced when economies of scale are reached and technology progresses. In conclusion, by adhering to these recommendations, we can all help create a more sustainable and healthy planet for the coming generations. Alternative fuels provide promise in the fight against climate change, air pollution, and the depletion of resources.
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