Jordan Brown Alternative Energy for Transportation
Alternative Power Sources For transportation By: Jordan Brown
The ProblemHuman beings havedeveloped a variety ofmethods of transportation,almost all of which rely onfossil fuels for power.Unfortunately, burningfossil fuels releasesgreenhouse gases, causingclimate change and Coal is a common fossil fuelpoisoning the atmosphere.
Fossil Fuel Fossil fuels are combinations of Carbon and Hydrogen into molecules that when burned, release greenhouse gases into theNitrous Oxide air. Greenhouse gases can be, among other things, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, and Nitrous Oxides. (Enzler, n.d.)Carbon Dioxide
The AlternativesIn order to avoid destroying the atmosphere and the world over time, scientists have been developing alternative energy sources to power our transportation.So far, there is three promising alternative power sources. Hydrogen power, Ethanol, and Electric or Hybrid cars.
Hydrogen PowerHydrogen power is a theoryfor a power sourced that isgotten by burninghydrogen. Hydrogen is one of few fuel sources that can be used without producing any harmful emissions. This solves the major problem of fossil fuels, but is it a viable option for replacement?
Hydrogen PowerSeveral automotivemanufacturers have testedout using hydrogen powerin their vehicles.Hyundai has made ahydrogen powered vehiclecapable of travelling 365miles on a fuel cell, andToyota has made onecapable of 435 miles. (Fairley, 2012)
Hydrogen Power The obstacles for hydrogen power lie mainly in the cost. Hydrogen itself is expensive, but we would also require all new distribution facilities to get the hydrogen to the cars. After some research in the early 2000s, hydrogen cars were given up as inefficient and expensive. Without significant improvement, the technology will not replace fossil fuel.
Ethanol FuelThe second promising alternative to fossil fuels is ethanol.Ethanol isnt so much an alternative, as it is a much moreenvironmentally version of what we already have.Ethanol is made by distilling starch crops such as corn.When mixed with 15 percent gasoline, it forms E85, anethanol based fuel. (U.S.D.O.E., n.d.)
Ethanol FuelEthanol is a good fuel source because it can be produceddomestically in North America, and pretty much anywhereelse in the world, reducing our dependency on the MiddleEast for fuel.E85 is also much better for the environment than fossil fuels,and while it doesnt have zero emissions, like hydrogen, itwould still be a significant step in the right direction. Barack Obama, the president of the United States, supports ethanol as a fuel source.
Ethanol FuelThe drawbacks of Ethanol once again lie in the cost. E85 iscurrently very expensive to produce, and since it has a lowerenergy content to volume ratio than fossil fuel, a tank of E85wont get you nearly as far as a tank of 100 percentgasoline. (U.S.D.O.E., n.d.)Due to the extremely high cost, and less than stellarenvironmental impact, ethanol will probably not replacefossil fuels any time soon.
Electric VehiclesThe third, and perhapsmost promising advance inalternative energy fortransportation has been theelectric car.Electric cars are alreadyvery common on highwaystoday, since they dontrequire any extravagantfuelling stations, you cancurrently get electricityalmost anywhere.
Electric VehiclesElectric vehicles have the advantage of producing no tail pipeemissions. Since the atmosphere is becoming such a largeenvironmental concern, lowering greenhouse gas emissions is afantastic benefit to electric cars.They also have the benefit of using 75% of the power generatedby electricity. An average gasoline powered car only uses 20% ofthe power from burning gasoline (Goertz, n.d.).
Electric VehiclesElectric vehicles are already a very popular alternative tofossil fuel powered vehicles. There are some drawbacks,such as a long charging time and a low range, but despitethis, the electric car has become standard.Given time and sufficient technological development, electriccars could come to outnumber, and eventually replace fossilfuel driven cars, and the environment will be better for it.
Reference ListEnzler, S.M. (n.d.) Fossil fuels. Retrieved from www.lenntech.com/greenhouse-effect/fossil-fuels.htmFairley, Peter. (2012). Hydrogen cars: A dream that wont die. Retrieved from www.technologyreview.com/news/429495/hydrogen- cars-a-dream-that-wont-die/Goertz, Joe. (n.d.) The benefits of electric vehicles. Retrieved from emissionfreecars.com/article/The- Benefits-Of-Electric-Vehicles/296058/