Fueling Tomorrow

Why? Why search tirelessly for the best alternatives to our current fuels? Approximately 95% of world transport is powered by oil and besides, for a very long time Man has depended on the ever popular source of energy – black gold. So why bother changing it? Ignore the fact that burning fossil fuels is a very generous contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions, that it causes global warming, that they are non-renewable sources of energy and that sooner or later we’re going to run out of them. Most of us would have heard a million slogans and catch phrases on energy conservation, global warming, and so on but would not have given it a second thought, so where would it affect the average human being of today who couldn’t care less about going green, as far as he’s concerned petrol gets him from point A to Point B and that’s all he needs. So here’s why. Once upon a time in the Middle East, on May 26th 1908, in Persia (now Iran) to be precise, a British company found oil. At that time with the concept of automobiles being at its infancy and everything running on coal, investors didn’t really expect to get rich from an oil strike, until they realized that petroleum was a more economical fuel source and almost everything that ran on coal could run on oil as well. The change was easy and inevitable. Explorations led to discovery of more oil reserves in the Middle East, and today a hundred years later the Gulf countries have the world’s largest share of petroleum. The Middle East exports 58% of the all crude petroleum and many countries depend on them for oil. This is where the problem arises. There is a stark monopoly in the market where many countries depend on the regions like the Gulf, Canada, and Venezuela. Countries that are rich in oil therefore can monopolize and manipulate markets. In normal terms, the countries that are rich in oil can create artificial scarcity and cause price rise. This is where you would be concerned about finding cheaper more economic sources of fuel. To find the ideal fuel is anything but simple. There are so many factors you need to take into account. The potential candidate must be available in abundance, it should be safe, easy to transport and store and it should be legal. Many such restrictions have our scientists and researchers still in their labs searching relentlessly for the ideal fuel replacement. There have been so many proposals for fuel alternatives but to find the right fuel alternative is still work in progress, so here’s your sneak peek at the creativity scientists have used in an attempt to tide over the energy crisis.

Water:

Nearly two-thirds of the earth is water. The chemical composition of water (H2O) has hydrogen in it. If we are able to extract hydrogen along with the oxygen gas it becomes suitable for the IC engine applications with some modifications. It is an economical fuel source due to its abundance. Due to its purity it is neat, clean and eco-friendly.

Used Diapers:

An Organization called AMEC in Canada is in the process of building a pilot plant in Quebec that will process used diapers (plastics, resins, fibers and poop) by a pyrolysis process and produce a mix of oil and char. Considering diapers take a very long time to decompose in a land fill, it seems like a good alternative.

Liposuction:

Dr. Craig Alan Bittner is a Beverly Hills Cosmetics Surgeon who saves the left over fat from the many liposuctions he conducts and converts it into a perfectly good biofuel with which he powers his SUV. The fact that this is illegal is a minor deterrent.

Turkey Gut:

Thanksgiving in America plates about 45 million turkeys. An interesting query would be, what happens to the turkey guts? A group of entrepreneurs at Carthage got together and decided to open a plant that would convert turkey waste including feathers and converting it into a fuel oil that can be converted into gasoline, jet fuel or diesel.

Cows:

Cows can produce 50-130 gallons of methane every day. Since Methane burns easily, what if they could use this Methane as a fuel? Blue Spruce Farm in Vermont is putting their cow waste into anaerobic digesters to produce electricity. This also produces useful fertilizers.

The Usual alternatives:

Bio- diesels which are animal fat based or vegetable oil based diesel fuel, Biogas technologies which are concerned with the converting of biological waste into energy, Propane (otherwise known as LPG) which is a domestically abundant fossil fuel that reduces harmful emissions, Hydrogen which is an easily combustible gas available in abundance, and ethanol that has emerged in the recent years as a very good fuel alternative, are all good solution to our current energy crisis.

Hemp:

Hemp is a very versatile plant, it improves the soil in which it grows without the aid of any chemical fertilizers and chokes weed by its rapid growth. By virtue of it versatile nature hemp is a really good fuel alternative and production at large rates and at low costs leads many to believe that it alone can make America energy independent. However, though highly profitable the Federal government banned the growth of hemp. There are many alternatives for our current fuels, but they have many draw backs as well, that is why none of these alternatives have been implemented. The answer is out there somewhere, all we need is more people to think outside the box for a change, and find the best fuel source to run our world. We hope to be a healthy world one day, a world that can sustain itself. With the need for finding different fuels to use becoming more and more prominent, we’re looking at a someday, not very far away when we will find an economical fuel source that will save the planet and go easy on your wallet.

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