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March
4
2015

Top 10 Alternative Fuels to Start Using Right Now

Electric car

Why you may think about using alternative fuels? The most obvious reason is high gas prices. Driving becomes more expensive, and an increasing number of drivers are turning towards alternative fuels. Luckily, there are plenty of them. Here is the list of top 10 fuels you can start using instead of gasoline right now.

 

10. Hydrogen

Despite common belief, hydrogenis safe enough to be used to power the vehicle’s engine. It is suitable for 2 types of vehicles: fuel cell vehicles (FCV) and vehicles with hydrogen internal combustion engines (HICEV). Among the FCV cars is the Honda FCX Clarity that uses a fuel cell to generate power. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a famous HICEV, which uses hydrogen as the fuel source. The only problem with hydrogen-powered vehicles is the lack of hydrogen filling stations.

 

9. Electricity

Electric vehicles have long been considered inconvenient, because the batteries drain too quickly and have to be recharged too often. However, with the new technology, some car manufacturers are overcoming this problem. They use new lithium-ion batteries (LIB), the same as used in your laptop or cell phone, which last longer and are recharged more quickly. Among the most prominent and high performance battery electric vehicles is the Tesla Roadster. Some other cars, like the Chevrolet Volt, also use Li-ion batteries but in combination with an ICE. The batteries for these cars are charged by plugging them into a regular wall outlet.

 

8. Biodiesel

Biodiesel is another type of alternative fuel made from animal fat or vegetable oil. As is known, fats may be harmful for your health, but that doesn’t go for you vehicle. Biodiesel can be used in any vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you can fuel your car with oils and grease form fast foods. Biodiesel requires a chemical process. In fact, you can produce it at home, but the process can be rather dangerous, so you’d better not take a risk. Biodiesel is cleaner and cheaper that regular diesel, but be ready that it smells like French fries. Really! So before using it just make sure you can handle it.

 

7. Ethanol

Ethanol is a wide-spread alcohol fuel. It is made from plant matter, such as cornor sugar cane. Ethanol is mixed with gas to cut emissions. This fuel can be used for fueling vehicles with flex-fuel engines, which can be powered either by gasoline or E85 ethanol-gasoline blend. With ethanol being an affordable and common alternative fuel, the number of ethanol stations is continuing to increase.

 

6. Liquefied Natural Gas

Another alternative fuel you may find in your kitchen. Natural gas is found in underground rock formations and is usually used for cooking, heating, and generation of electricity. It can be also used as a car fuel. Liquefied natural gas is cleaner than gas, and when it is liquefied it becomes powerful enough to fuel a vehicle and even a truck. And that’s what it is commonly used for – fueling trucks over long distances.

 

5. Compressed Natural Gas

Now imagine that instead of driving to the filling station to fuel up your vehicle, you can have a fuel line in your house ready to be used whenever you need. Sounds pretty cool, isn’t it? Well, in fact, you most likely already have a one. Compressed natural gas is used in most homes for heating and cooking, and it is supplied to our homes by the gas company. However, to fuel a vehicle with this gas, you will need a fueling station capable to compress the natural gas. CNG is more affordable and cleaner than gas, that’s why the cars running on it may gain popularity. Among the cars that run on this gas are the Honda Civic GX introduced in 1998. However, there are not so many stations offering this fuel.

 

4. Liquefied petroleum gas

If you have ever grilled with propane, then you are familiar with the liquefied petroleum gas, or LP gas. It is made up of propane and other hydrocarbon gases. When in liquid form, petroleum gas becomes more energy-dense, thereby more capable to power vehicles. LP gas is used to fuel internal combustion engine designed for this particular type of fuel. This alternative fuel is not commonly used in the US, but many other countries, including the Netherlands, have experimented with it.

 

3. Compressed Air

Compressed air is used in compressed air cars. While typical vehicles with regular engines use air mixed with gasoline which is ignited with a spark, compressed-air vehicles generate power by the expansion of the compressed air. Just like electric vehicles, compressed air cars have to be charged, but the charge time is much less.

 

2. Liquid nitrogen

Nitrogen is another alternative to gas, which is cheaper and cleaner. Unlike hydrogen, which can be used in FCV and hydrogen-combustion engine cars only, liquid nitrogen can be used to power engines. The nitrogen is kept in a liquid form. To power the car, it is heated in the engine and then expanded to generate energy.

 

1. Coal

And finally, coal. This fuel is probably not a surprise, but it is a relatively new alternative for vehicles. Coal can be used in plug-in hybrids (PHEV),electric vehicles (EV), and in extended-range electric vehicles (E-REV). As compared to gas, coal is cheaper and there is plenty of coal in the US. Now you see that there are plenty of alternatives to be used instead of expensive gasoline. Consider them and think about the one which is the most suitable for you and your car.

 
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