Alternative Vehicle Fuels – An Overview of Emerging Alternative Vehicle Fuels

A number of promising vehicle fuels is in initial stages of development. These alternative vehicle fuels offer benefits such as reduced emissions, increased energy security and decrease our reliance on foreign oil.

Biobutanol

Butanol manufactured using biomass feedstock is referred to as biobutanol. Similar to ethanol, biobutanol is a type of liquid alcohol fuel that can be used by gasoline-powered internal combustion engines of today.

The benefits of biobutanol are similar to ethanol. For example, biobutanol can be produced from a variety of feedstocks domestically. The emission of greenhouse gases are also reduced as carbon dioxide captured during the growth of the feedstock crops balances carbon dioxide released when biobutanol is burned.

Biogas

Biogas is the gaseous product of decomposition without oxygen of organic matter and it is sometimes referred to as landfill gas. The composition of biogas typically consists of 50-80% methane, 20-50% carbon dioxide, and traces of other gases such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen.

Biogas is a domestic and a renewable resource. Biogas reduces the need to use natural gas derived from non-renewable resources such as coal, oil, and fossil fuel. Using biogas also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by preventing the release of methane into the atmosphere.

Biomass to Liquids

Biomass to liquids is process which describes the conversion of biomass to a range of liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel. One major benefit of biomass-to-liquids fuels is their compatibility with currently existing vehicle technologies and fuel distribution systems.

Again, similar to other biomass-derived fuels, biomass-to-liquids fuels can be produced domestically from a wide range of feedstocks. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced because carbon dioxide captured during the growth of the feedstock crops balances carbon dioxide released when the fuels are burned.

Fischer-Tropsch Diesel

Fischer-Tropsch diesel is a type of synthetic diesel fuel manufactured by the conversion of gaseous hydrocarbons, such as natural gas into liquid fuel. Fischer-Tropsch diesel can directly replace conventional diesel without any modification to the existing fueling infrastructure or the diesel engine of today’s vehicles.

It has been shown that Fischer-Tropsch diesel reduces regulated exhaust emissions from a number of diesel engines and vehicles, and the near-zero sulfur content of Fischer-Tropsch diesel allows the use of advanced emission control devices.

Hydrogenation-Derived Renewable Diesel

Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel is produced from fats or vegetable oils and it can be used as a stand alone product or it can be blended with petroleum. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel manufactured in this manner is sometimes called second-generation biodiesel.

It is anticipated that hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel will directly replace or mixed with petroleum-based diesel, without modification to the fueling infrastructure or vehicle engines.

Again, similar to other biomass-derived fuels, hydrogention-derived renewabele diesel can be produced domestically from a wide range of feedstocks. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced because carbon dioxide captured during the growth of the feedstock crops balances carbon dioxide released when the fuels are burned.

Source: AZoCleantech
Last update 14th April 2008

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