Many countries across the world today are moving away from traditional petroleum-based fuels. A range of clean and effective fuels are being developed with the intention of making the roads pollution-free. Some of the scientists are looking for ways to create cleaner and greener fuels from discarded materials.
A few others are engaged in harnessing the natural energy sources to run modern vehicles. Such fuels are biodegradable and have minimal impacts on the environment. They also burn in a cleaner way and does not pollute air and water. Another major advantage is that they almost have the same level of efficiency as petroleum-based fuels. Some of these green fuels are:
Biodiesel is made using edible oils. This may eventually lead to the restaurants and food chains being turned into food-and-fuel centers. It may not be as simple as it sounds. You cannot just pour the oil used for frying things into your fuel tank. Scientists have been creating biodiesel and testing it for years. Its creation involves turning vegetable oils or animal fats into a kind of diesel fuel.
Today, about 30 million gallons of biodiesel are being produced in the United States annually. This fuel is being used in tourist boats and some state and federal transit fleets. This fuel can be eventually used in vehicles that are commonly used, reducing air pollution to a great extent.
Ethanol is a form of alcohol. It is already being used widely as a green fuel today. Most of it is created by using a process quite similar to brewing beer. Crops that are rich in starch are converted into sugars. They are then fermented into ethanol and given the final form with distillation.
Bioethanol is made from waste materials instead of crops that are specially grown for the purpose. It can be used as a fuel by directly burning it in an engine. Another way of using it would be to create hydrogen from it for powering a fuel cell.
3. Solar panels
The cleanest cars to ever run on roads can be created with the help of solar panels. The idea of using such panels is to convert solar energy into power for running an automobile. Incoming light energy from the sun is captured using solar panels placed on top of the cars.
The energy is then stored in batteries in the form of electricity. Energy from these batteries is then used by the electric motor to run the vehicle. One of the concerns raised in this regard is that cars would need sunlight. The batteries may not store enough energy for the car to keep going at night.
Solar-powered cars can either travel during the day, run slowly, or run at high speed only for shorter distances. Considering such challenges, scientists worldwide are trying to develop a prototype solar vehicle. It is expected that such an automobile can overcome the present challenges.
4. Dimethyl ether (DME)
Dimethyl ether or DME is a chemical used in spray cans instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Scientists are working on ways to run vehicles with the clean burning of DME. During their experiments, they found that DME produced lower levels of carbon monoxide emissions when burned.
It also produced lower nitric oxide emissions than the widely-used commercial fuels. Dimethyl ether is normally produced from methanol. However, its production from natural gas and coal-derived mixture of gases can open it up for broader use.