Scientists point out that the shortage of oil is reaching epic proportions. Some of the last and largest reserves of oil rest under a select few countries, creating a dangerous monopoly and dependency. Because of this, oil-dependent countries are scrambling to break this addiction.
Oil lubricates the wheel of industry. Fascinating to note, that more than 10 years ago, all industry was in overwhelming majority powered by oil. Today, because of the source of oil is peaking, experimentation with alternative fuel sources to supplement and eventually replace the usage of oil as a main source of energy are conducted in increasing numbers and urgency.
This search for an alternative fuel source is increasing in intensity as oil is increasingly becoming much harder to find, which translate into higher prices per unit. Eventually the price of oil will be a crushing burden on the average household consumer.
Creatively alternative fuel sources have been found in various materials from once living organic material, mineral and even atomic.
The purpose of fuel is to “store energy in a form that is stable and can be easily transported from the place of production to the end user which helps in many ways such as transportation.” The point behind fuel is that there is energy stored inside the fuel source which, when changing states, releases energy, which is then captured by an engine or device to convert to, for example, mechanical energy in cars.
Listed below are some of the more common alternative fuel sources, their advantages and disadvantages.
Ethanol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Considered a biofuel, it is used as a fuel additive or as a pure fuel in itself. Sources of ethanol for vehicle usage mainly comes from feedstock biomass such as corn, sugarcane, and other plant material such as switchgrass.
– This fuel is considered renewable since it comes from agriculturally grown plants
– Widely available in all populations with emissions control standards
– 1 liter of ethanol outputs 34% less energy when burned compared to 1 liter of gasoline, requiring more fuel consumption to generate the same amount of work in an engine.
– Ethanol easily attracts water. The higher the percentage of ethanol in a fuel mixture, the higher the chances are there is more water in the mix, creating some knocking in the engine.
– Ethanol production requires large tracts of arable land, diverting these resources to fuel production instead of feeding the populace, creating high prices as food becomes scarce.
Solar cells. Solar energy converts energy from the sun into electricity. In vehicles, this is achieved with the use of photovoltaic cells on the exposed surface of a vehicle such as the roof of a car.
-Renewable and unlimited energy source
-No pollutants created whatsoever
-Best used as a support system to power low-consumption electric devices
-Requires the sun to generate energy
-Energy generated is not yet comparable to power full-sized vehicles
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). CNG is a petroleum alternative product that is lighter than gasoline and disperses quickly when spilled into the environment. Like oil it is a mined resource in the earth.
-Widely used by certain countries as a cheaper alternative to gasoline with little modification to the car
-Gasoline can work with CNG in bi-fuel vehicles
-Costs 30%-60% less than gasoline
-CNG tanks takes up more space to store compared to conventional gasoline tanks
-Supply is expected to run out as soon as oil runs out
-Takes more CNG to output the equivalent output of energy by gasoline
Biodiesel. Biodiesel is a fuel derived from vegetable oil. It can be used alone or in conjunction with standard diesel. Biodiesel is created by “transesterification” or the exchange of an alkoxy group of an ester compound with another alcohol group.
-Can be used 100% or blended with standard diesel to run unmodified in diesel engines
-Better lubricating qualities then standard diesel
-Used as an additive to Ultra Low Sulfur Content (ULSC) diesel because biodiesel has 0% sulfur
-Can corrode normal pre-1992 gaskets and rubber hoses exposed in a diesel engine
-On the average provides 9% less energy than standard diesel
-Pure biodiesel is more expensive than standard diesel due economies of scale
-Can attract water molecules from the atmosphere causing water contamination
Hydrogen-on-Demand (HOD). Hydrogen is currently successfully used as a fuel additive to supplement regular gasoline or diesel usage, giving immense fuel savings. Hydrogen is drawn from distilled water containers called hydrogen-on-demand (HOD) generators. These generators use electrolysis from regular car batteries to split water into its component parts of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O).
HOD disposes of the argument that hydrogen is too expensive to produce to fully power a car by just using the hydrogen to create a cleaner and more complete burn in the combustion. The hydrogen generated would mix with the gasoline or diesel and catalyzes a better combustion process. This results in less fuel usage per combustion cycle, but with an increase in power generation, creating fuel savings.
-Hydrogen is inexpensive to produce through the HOD system
-Does not require modification in regular internal combustion engines
-Tax credits can be obtained using this technology
-HOD technology does not void the warranty of a vehicle
-Fuel is replenished inexpensively with just distilled water
-Mixed with regular fuel creates more power for a leaner air-fuel mix
-Less pollution as combustion reaction releases water as a byproduct in its emissions
-Cost to build is inexpensive compared to other alternative fuel technologies
-Works on all internal combustion engines
-Mileage gains can be as high as 90%
-Gaining wide acceptance as oil prices rise to record levels.
-Cars with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) systems needs a simple low-cost add-on controller to improve the 14.7:1 air-fuel “stochiometric” or balance set by car manufacturers. This device would cost between $20 to $60. Inserting this device is more cost-effective than reprogramming the Engine Control Unit (ECU).
Which of all alternative fuel sources work the best in terms of overall environmental impact, value for money, and sustainability? Currently the Hydrogen-on-Demand (HOD) is best alternative to alternative fuel technologies.
HOD technology is considered an interim technology with great value for money. Once the initial investment for understanding the technology is purchased, practically all parts can be sourced and a generator be built from scratch. Installation does not require opening or changing parts in the engine.It works on any gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine without modification. It can even work in tandem with other alternate fuel technologies to enhance their power output.
HOD has minimal environmental impact. Its byproduct is pure water vapor. Other fuel technologies may require large arable land to create the necessary biomass or simply doesn’t have enough maturity to collect and store in large quantities like solar power.
HOD is sustainable. Distilled water in HOD generators can last up to 4 months. Replenishing the generator simply requires putting in distilled water with a little baking soda to create an aqueous solution. Other alternate fuel technologies are either sustainable but output little power, is not sustainable at all considering it comes from finite resources, or sustainable but requires extensive processing techniques it cancels out the value of investment.
For more information on HOD systems, increasing fuel economies, and support, please visit the URL below.