The rise in price of the major automobile fuels, namely, the petroleum products petrol and diesel, has been one of the major global problems in the recent times. The price rise is even linked to the global economic meltdown. This is an ideal time to shift focus to alternative fuels for automobiles. There are various kinds of automobile fuels. The truth is that the fields of various alternative fuels have not witnessed substantial, both qualitative and quantitative, research. Perhaps, the pollution caused by the above-mentioned fuels and the fluctuating price of these fuels are the ideal condition to do some substantial research on the alternative avenues.
The most widely used alternative fuel for automobiles is liquid petroleum gas containing mainly propane. It is not as costly as diesel and petroleum. At the same time, it does not cause as much pollution as the other two. Ethanol and methanol can also be used as effective fuels and these cause low levels of environment pollution. Hydrogen gas is one of the possible breakthrough-providing fuels in this arena. Research has been going on regarding the combustion mechanism of the gas and various methods that can be used to store the hydrogen gas in a convenient form inside a vehicle. The use of solar energy as an automobile fuel has also been explored. Right now, solar energy is used in homes for various electrical purposes
Bio diesel is another kind of alternative fuels for automobiles. It can be produced from certain types of vegetables and plants. Since these have almost all the characteristics of diesel, it can be used in all diesel vehicles without any other additional components or converting equipment. Also, the emission from the vehicle when using bio diesel contains fewer toxic substances than that when using actual diesel. The plants from which bio diesel can be extracted can be cultivated in large scale without much expense.
Electricity is another alternative fuel for automobiles. Many functional prototypes of various electrical vehicles have been developed. But the lack of pulling power and the actual shortage of electricity are the constraints for its wide spread use. Probably, electric fuels are the best in terms of reducing environmental and sound pollution levels. The advancement in manufacture of various kinds of batteries has helped the development of vehicles that run on electric fuels.
Scientists and researchers are increasingly seeking new avenues of alternate fuels for automobiles. Hydrogen gas is one of the possible breakthrough-providing fuels in this arena. Research has been going on regarding the combustion mechanism of the gas and various methods that can be used to store the hydrogen gas in a convenient form inside a vehicle. The use of solar energy as an automobile fuel has also been explored. Right now, solar energy is used in homes for various electrical purposes. The efforts are ongoing for translating the home-use mechanism to automobile sector. The biggest problem it has is the requirement of changing the existing mechanical functioning system of automobiles to accommodate the solar fuel. Till a mechanism will be introduced for bypassing this technological bottleneck, chances of using solar energy as automobile fuel do not appear very sunny.
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