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Alternative Fuels (Pros and Cons)

Discussion in 'Band of Glockers' started by isuzu, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. isuzu


    Jul 3, 2005
    North America
    This was taken from Westworld Alberta June 2007 issue:

    Ethanol An alcohol made from renewable resources, such as corn and wheat.

    Pros: Clean burning. Reduces harmful emissions. Renewable. Can be used in place of benzene, a toxic compound in gasoline. Helps the agricultural sector by increasing demand for grains.

    Cons: Takes up land otherwise used to grow crops for food. Is energy intensive to grow. Tends to dry out seals and gaskets designed for petroleum fuel.

    E-85 Made up of 85 per cent ethanol and 85 per cent gasoline.

    Pros: Cleaner burning than petroleum gasoline, with a higher octane level that provides more horsepower.

    Cons: Can be used in engines specifically designed for this fuel. Not widely available.

    Watched an episode of Motorweek this morning, and on the Goss' Garage section, it said that E-85 vehicles have different valve seats in the engine to prevent valve seat recession. The engine also has to have stainless injector rails, and different injectors. E85 vehicles also have a fuel identifier, and two computers which would give you the best performance on the type of fuel used. - Isuzu

    Biodiesel Produced from used vegetable oils and animal fats, as well as oilseed crops such as canola and oil. Pure biodiesel is called B100.

    Pros: Non-toxic. Can be blended with conventional diesel fuel. Burns like regular diesel fuel but has a reduced environmental impact. Minimizes air toxins, greenhouse gases, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and black smoke - and contains no sulphur dioxide (which causes acid rain) or aromatics. Helps the agricultural sector.

    Cons: Gels at temperatures below freezing. Sparse distribution network.

    The first paragraph of the article Fuelling the Future in the same magazine mentioned: "When Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine in the 1890's, he designed it to operate on vegetable and seed oils. In fact, at the 1900 World's Fair, he ran it on peanut oil. But fossil fuel, which was a cheaper source and backed by big industry, became the preferred choice for diesel engines."

    Gas-Electric Hybrids Charges batteries that drive an electric motor in conjunction with a gasoline engine.

    Pros: Quiet. Good starting torque. No significant polluting emissions in electric-only mode.

    Cons: Higher initial vehicle cost. Current batteries have relatively short trip capability. Recharge time can take hours. Batteries eventuallyu require replacement and they're expensive. Generating the electricity - charging the batteries and converting the charge back into motion - is inefficient, with waste at each step (hence the popularity of gas electric hybrids, with their 15 to 20 per cent efficiency).

    Biomass and Cellulose Ethanol Produced through bio-conversion, which turns garbage, animal manure, wood chips, corn stalks and other wastes into such fuels as ethanol, methanol, and methane.

    Pros: Good use of waste material. Lower fuel cost. Reduced particulate emissions. Can be used in many older vehicles without technical modification (low concentrations). Carbon dioxide released is equivalent to amount originally removed from the atmosphere by the plants supplying the energy.

    Cons: Collecting the waste in sufficient quantities can be difficult. Some waste materials not available year-round.

    Hydrogen Naturally occuring, plentiful. Can be converted into the lightest, simplest energy-carrier available. It is being explored for use in combustion engines and FCVs.

    Pros: Clean burning. High energy efficiency. Can be made from a variety of sources. When used in a fuel cell, the only byproducts are heat and water.

    Cons: Needs an energy source to manufacture it - and that is typically fossil fuels. No infrastructure for refuelling stations or production facilities. Not yet readily available.
  2. zorkd


    Sep 2, 2004
    if i am not mistaken, i actually saw a tv segment about how a dieself land rover can actually run on vegetable oil but for some reason it was illegal to do so in the UK (where the show was being filmed).

    i have not tried this but i suspect it will work, oils spontaneously combust at high temperatures/pressures right? and that's how diesel engines work, so no need for spark plugs

  3. batangueno

    batangueno Shock Resist

    Oct 1, 2002
    How about Dingel's water powered car. :supergrin:
  4. isuzu


    Jul 3, 2005
    North America
    Too bad for him, he doesn't want his car examined. He fears that others may "follow" his invention.:supergrin:
  5. What happened to those who were using used cooking oil to fuel their diesels? There was a TV show about them in the UK; one was using it to power his Volvo.

    I saw a picture of a custom Chevy truck, very low riding, and with a Detroit Diesel engine running on peanut oil.