The consumption of natural fuels like petrol and diesel has increased manifold with the increased use of vehicles that run on these fuels. Since the beginning of industrialization we started consuming fossil fuels at an alarming rate. Coal, diesel and petrol are derived from fossil fuels that are going to exhaust one day if the current pace of consumption continues.
This makes us to find sustainable fuel for future needs. As of now there are two alternative fuels that could be used as alternatives for fossil fuels. Let us discuss about them in detail.
The energy of bio-fuels is derived from biological carbon fixation. These fuels can be derived from biomass conversion, solid biomass, liquid fuels etc. Based on the source from which they are derived there are a variety of bio-fuels. Two popular forms are bio-diesel (alternative to diesel) and bio-ethanol (alternative to petrol).
Bio-diesel is made by extracting and purifying plant seed oil to substitute regular diesel and made available to diesel engines. The most widely recognized bio-ethanol is the fermented extracts of corn or sugarcane. The natural ethanol thus extracted acts as alternative to petrol and can run on any petrol powered vehicles.
Pros and cons:
Bio-fuels are inexhaustible energy sources, as they are extracted from plants produce. Automobile engines do not require major changes to run with bio-fuels. Since their origin is natural, they are considered sustainable and environment friendly. They help reduce dependency on import of crude petrol. They produce less emissions, thus, contribute to efforts for lowering global warming issues.
The possible disadvantages from bio-fuels are – there is an increased competition between bio-fuel crops and food crops, which is likely to result surge in food crop prices. Bio-fuel production encourages destruction of forests and other natural habitats for growing bio-fuel related crops, which will show devastative consequences on environment.
Hydrogen in its gaseous form can be used as fuel to run engines. Hydrogen is the most abundant element on the earth which is colorless, non-toxic and environment friendly. The source of hydrogen fuel is natural gas and water. Natural gas contributes 80% of hydrogen fuel and the rest comes from water resources through the process of hydrolysis.
Pros and cons:
The production process of hydrogen fuel is safer and cleaner than petroleum production. Hydrogen fuel ensures future security in terms of fuel, economic stability and reduces the dependency on petrol and diesel. Hydrogen fuel produces zero emissions of pollutants which again contributes to the sustainable development of country.
The disadvantages of hydrogen fuel comes from its production cost. Process of making hydrogen fuel is expensive. Since development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure is still in early stages, it requires major changes in vehicle’s engine design and thus makes automobiles expensive.