The ongoing problem in oil price hike is troubling the world today. Alternative fuels will help us to come out from this problem. In this article you will come to know about the Pros and Cons of Alternative fuels.
At present, we depend on petroleum to run our cars, and household central heat, and electricity in our homes. Petroleum is not only limited, but it is also polluting the air and depleting the ozone layer as it is burned. There are several reasons we are looking towards alternative energy sources. With many countries, and US cities, signing the Kyoto Treaty, efforts to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases are a primary focus in today's culture. Renewable energy, sources show guarantee in helping to reduce the amount of toxins that are by-products of energy use. Using alternative energy also helps to preserve many of the natural resources that we currently use as sources of energy.
The concept of using alternative fuels in the society has become more popular and developed. Alternative energy use can help to conserve the fragile environmental balance of the planet and also help us to preserve the non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, it is important to know what types of alternative energy is there. Through the list of pros and cons, one shall determine the importance of alternative fuels.
The different types of alternative fuels:
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG):
It is also known as propane. It is a nonrenewable gaseous fossil fuel, which turns to liquid under moderate pressure. It is a by-product of natural gas processing and oil refining, includes various mixtures of hydrocarbons.
- LPG does not pollute underground water sources, as it vaporizes when unconfined from the tank and it is not water soluble.
- LPG enters the engine as a vapor, it doesn’t dilute the oil when the engine is cold, and it also doesn't put carbon particles and sulfuric acid into the oil. Thus an engine that runs on propane can expect a longer service life and condensed preservation expenses.
- Its high octane rating enables it to blend better with air and to burn utterly than gasoline does, generating less carbon. With less carbon buildup, spark plugs frequently last longer and oil changes are needed less frequently.
- Refueling a propane vehicle is similar to filling a gas grill tank; the time it takes is equivalent with that needed to fill a CNG, gasoline or diesel fuel tank.
- Because it burns in the engine in the gaseous phase, propane results in less decomposition.
- In cold circumstances starting could be a problem because of the low vapor pressure of propane.
- LPG is usually high priced than other fuel alternatives such as CNG and gasoline.
- One gallon of LPG contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline.
- There are over 4,000 LPG refueling sites in the US, more than all of the other alternative fuels combined. Most of these stations, however, are not readily available to consumers on a 24/7 basis. This is one of the reasons why most on-road applications are bi-fuel vehicles, which burn LPG and gasoline.
Liquefied Natural Gas:
It is natural gas that has been super cooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, natural gas condenses into a liquid. When in liquid form, natural gas takes up to 600 times less space than in its gaseous state, which makes it feasible to transport over long distances.
- LNG is an energy source that has much lower air emissions than other fossil fuels, such as oil or coal.
- It is a highly clean fuel with minimal harmful emissions.
- LNG does not require a heavy fuel tank.
- LNG provides energy with a high density.
- LNG offers safer operation
- LNG needs a smaller gas tank than CNG, increasing the trunk space of a vehicle
- It must be stored under a very low temperature.
- The technology is more complicated and costly compared to CNG.
- The filling technology is different and involves new risks.
- LNG evaporates if a vehicle is not used for a protracted period of time.
Compressed Natural Gas
Natural gas is the most popular type of alternate fuel used for vehicles. The compressed form of natural gas is called compressed natural gas.
- They cause less air pollution as the burning of CNG fuel causes less emissions.
- It is the form of natural gas and it is available in many parts of the world.
- Its octane number is very high, making it highly suitable for the SI engines. The octane number of it also permits the engine to operate at a high compression ratio.
- It is the least expensive alternative fuel compared to other fuels.
- Its fuelling process is very slow.
- The energy density of natural gas and CNG is low, thus the performance of the engine reduces.
- It has low volumetric efficiency, as it is a gaseous fuel.
- The tanks are quite bulky and heavy, about three times more so than LPG tanks.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel formulated exclusively for diesel engines; it’s made from vegetable oil or animal fats. Biodiesel can be mixed with petroleum diesel in any percentage, from 1 to 99.
- Biodiesel reduces emissions of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. It is a renewable fuel source that stems from various resources including vegetable, canola, palm, and soybean oils.
- Biodiesel is a natural lubricant.
- It can be stored and dispensed in exactly the same manner as petroleum diesel fuel.
- With the proper biodiesel equipment, the fuel output can be used in almost all diesel engines with modifications that are considered discretionary.
- This solvent characteristic will clean the injectors and the tank, as well as the fuel lines; the downside is that, blockage is inevitable.
- It requires special handling in cold weather.
- Depending upon the state of engine tune, there can be slightly higher levels oxides of nitrogen in exhaust emissions.
- It tends to deteriorate non-synthetic or natural rubber fuel system parts (hoses, seals).
- The main disadvantage of it is fuel cost.
Ethanol is produced by fermenting biomass, commonly corn. It is a renewable resource and contributes nothing in itself to greenhouse-gas loading of the atmosphere.
- It is a renewable fuel that comes from agricultural crops. It takes only six months to grow and harvest a crop such as corn which can be converted to ethanol.
- It reduces the amount of carbon monoxide and other ground-level toxic air pollutants as compared to conventional unleaded gasoline.
- Crops such as corn can be grown and produced into ethanol in the United States.
- The use of it can reduce the use of gasoline. A reduction in the use of gasoline reduces some of the dependence on foreign powers for fossil fuels.
- It is relatively inexpensive to process.
- Its production increases jobs due to plant construction, operations, and maintenance. Most ethanol plants are in rural communities.
- It can prevent engine knocking, and it increases gasoline's lubricity.
- It contains less energy than gasoline. A car won't go as far on a gallon of ethanol as it would on a gallon of conventional gasoline. The actual miles per gallon performance may vary depending on the vehicle.
- It can be more expensive than conventional gasoline on the West Coast and East Coast.
- It does not have nationwide distribution. E85 is widely available only in the Midwest, with limited availability in other areas of the United States.
- Corn farming and corn-based ethanol production can use nearly as much energy to produce as it supplies. New technologies are being introduced and are improving the efficiency of production.
Methanol is an alternative fuel made from woody plant fiber, coal or natural gas. It is used primarily as a supplement to gasoline. It can be harvested from the methane gas in landfills in addition to fermented waste products such as sewage and manure.
- It has a lower risk of flammability than gasoline.
- It offers lower exhaust emissions and higher vehicle performance.
- It can easily be made into hydrogen, offering a promising future for use in methanol direct fuels cells.
- It has a 50 percent energy ratio: that means it produces half of the power content of gasoline.
- It has high amount of formaldehyde in emissions.
- It tends to deteriorate non-synthetic and natural rubber fuel system parts.
Hydrogen fuel is proposed to global warming and pollutive effects of using hydrocarbon fuels. It seems that hydrogen fuel will replace fossil fuels in the future, in form of hydrogen cell for vehicles and as a direct combustion fuel for other purposes.
- It is the most profuse element in the universe as well as on the earth. Almost every known element consists of hydrogen. The greatest recourse is the water.
- Hydrogen fuel direct and indirect combustion emits pure water, no pollutions. Vehicles that run on hydrogen cells are true zero-emission vehicles.
- Abut 90 percent of the energy produced by the fuel cell in vehicles is being converted to other energies. It’s about twice as efficient as gasoline. It is a powerful fuel.
- Hydrogen is an energy carrier not an energy source
- Production technology for hydrogen production at an efficient cost is not yet viable. It takes more energy to make hydrogen than get from it.
- Density of hydrogen is much lower then gasoline. It means that hydrogen need as bigger as tanks then conventional fuels. Additionally, hydrogen is very flammable in air, so safety conditions have to be on high level.
- Hydrogen can be used as a fuel either liquid or gas. Gaseous hydrogen has low energy efficiency. Therefore, it is useless as a fuel.
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