The history of alternative fuels

A gasoline station Liquid fuels are combustible or energy-generating molecules that can be harnessed to create mechanical energyusually producing kinetic energy ; they also must take the shape of their container.

The history of alternative fuels

Compressed air[ edit ] The air engine is an emission-free piston engine using compressed air as fuel. Unlike hydrogen, compressed air is about one-tenth as expensive as fossil fuel, making it an economically attractive alternative fuel. Autogas Propane is a cleaner burning, high performance fuel derived from multiple sources.

Propane is a hydrocarbon fuel and is a member of the natural gas family. Propane as an automotive fuel shares many of the physical attributes of gasoline while reducing tailpipe emissions and well to wheel emissions overall. Propane is the number one alternative fuel in the world and offers an abundance of supply, liquid storage at low pressure, an excellent safety record and large cost savings when compared to traditional fuels.

Propane autogas in a liquid injection format captures the phase change from liquid to gas state within the cylinder of the combustion engine producing an "intercooler" effect, reducing the cylinder temperature and increasing air density. Propane lacks additives, detergents or other chemical enhancements further reducing the exhaust output from the tailpipe.

The cleaner combustion also has fewer particulate emissions, lower NOx due to the complete combustion of the gas within the cylinder, higher exhaust temperatures increasing the efficiency of the catalyst and deposits less acid and carbon inside the engine which extends the useful life of the lubricating oil.

Propane autogas is generated at the well alongside other natural gas and oil products.

The history of alternative fuels

It is also a by-product of the refining processes which further increase the supply of Propane to the market. Fueling vehicles is similar to gasoline in speed of delivery with modern fueling equipment.

In a vehicle format, propane autogas can be retrofitted to almost any engine and provide fuel cost savings and lowered emissions while being more efficient as an overall system due to the large, pre-existing propane fueling infrastructure that does not require compressors and the resultant waste of other alternative fuels in well to wheel lifecycles.

Natural gas vehicles[ edit ] Compressed natural gas CNG and liquified natural gas LNG are two cleaner combusting alternatives to conventional liquid automobile fuels. New technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to economically access unconventional gas resources, appear to have increased the supply of natural gas in a fundamental way.

Based on the process type, biogas can be divided into the following: Also, none of the smog-forming contaminates are emitted. Hydrogen and natural gas are both lighter than air and can be mixed together.

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The only controlled method now practical uses nuclear fission in a fissile fuel with a small fraction of the power coming from subsequent radioactive decay. Use of the nuclear reaction nuclear fusion for controlled power generation is not yet practical, but is an active area of research.

The history of alternative fuels

Nuclear power is usually used by using a nuclear reactor to heat a working fluid such as water, which is then used to create steam pressure, which is converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion in water. In theory, electricity from nuclear reactors could also be used for propulsion in space, but this has yet to be demonstrated in a space flight.

Some smaller reactors, such as the TOPAZ nuclear reactorare built to minimize moving parts, and use methods that convert nuclear energy to electricity more directly, making them useful for space missions, but this electricity has historically been used for other purposes.

Power from nuclear fission has been used in a number of spacecraft, all of them unmanned. The Soviets up to orbited 33 nuclear reactors in RORSAT military radar satellites, where electric power generated was used to power a radar unit that located ships on the Earth's oceans.

No nuclear reactor has been sent into space since Thorium fuelled nuclear reactors[ edit ] Thorium-based nuclear power reactors have also become an area of active research in recent years.

Thorium has also gained interest because it could be easier to obtain than uranium. While uranium mines are enclosed underground and thus very dangerous for the miners, thorium is taken from open pits.

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Their use on land is declining due to the danger of theft of isotope and environmental damage if the unit is opened. The decay of radioisotopes generates both heat and electricity in many space probes, particularly probes to outer planets where sunlight is weak, and low temperatures is a problem.

Radiothermal generators RTGs which use such radioisotopes as fuels do not sustain a nuclear chain reaction, but rather generate electricity from the decay of a radioisotope which has in turn been produced on Earth as a concentrated power source fuel using energy from an Earth-based nuclear reactor.The history of alternative fuels goes back to the very first days of the car industry.

In , more than half the cars were running on ethanol, steam, and electricity.9 Many of Karl Benz's early diesel engines ran on peanut oil, a "biofuel."Henry Ford's first car ran on alcohol, and his wife, Clara, drove an electric vehicle.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that can be manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease for use in diesel vehicles. Electricity can be used to power plug-in electric vehicles, which are increasingly available.

Hybrids use electricity to boost efficiency. Ethanol is a. The history of Alternative fuels, or at least the concept of it, has been around since the early days of the automobile.

Alternative fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol and methanol, have been produced and used on a small scale for decades. From electric cars and propane vehicles to natural gas-powered buses and trucks that run on biodiesel, today’s options for alternative fuel vehicles are vast.

Increasing the use of alternative fuels and vehicles will help reduce consumers’ fuel costs, minimize pollution and increase the nation’s energy security. The article describes and presents a critical analysis of the long history of alternative fuels and propulsion technologies, particularly in automobile applications.

The history of Alternative fuels, or at least the concept of it, has been around since the early days of the automobile. Alternative fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol and methanol, have been produced and used on a small scale for decades.

Brief History of Alternative Fuels - Green Initiatives