Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alternative Fuel Technologies

So what is out there? What are the alternative fuel choices we are given today?

  • Ethanol: It is not working out. There are not enough fueling stations! By the time they get fueling stations for everyone, food prices are going to be so high what’s the point? Plus, for what I have been able to find out the mileage is not that great at all.
  • Electric cars….not so good. They are very small, most Nev’s (neighborhood electric vehicles) are only allowed on roads with posted speed limits of 35mph or lower, and they can only go short distances. The better ones are way expensive (EV’s). The picture posted is of the Kurrent NEV car. The Kurrent will be built in Michigan by American Electric Vehicles. It is affordable only $10,600, but can’t be driven in the US in roads with posted speed limits over 35mph and only has a 40 mile range. Most NEV’s are being sold in Europe, London especially. We need an EV that is viable here in the US, at around $20,000. That would be accessible to the average person and therefore a successful solution to our current problem. Then there is the question of how are you going to charge them up? Plug into the regular grid? Then you are still part of the energy consumption problem. We need more solar energy and wind power to supply our homes and businesses, but that’s an entirely other can of worms!
  • Hydrogen fuel cars? Several decades before it is perfected. You see, hydrogen is an energy carrier not an energy source. Big difference! The procedure is that of combining hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity. The only byproducts are heat and vapor, splendid! Honda is promising 280 miles of range and a whopping 74mpg! However, these fuel cells are extremely expensive. These cars require some kind of fueling station and there are not many, even in California. Some even say that the stations would actually run on traditional fuel sources, so what's the point? It has been called “one of the least efficient, most expensive alternative fuel sources”. GM is rolling out 100 fuel cell electric vehicles for the largest ever market test. Don’t think they will be out on the lot of your local car dealer anytime soon, though.

What about a car that ran on air? OMG wouldn’t that be the most awesome thing? And it could take polluted air and recycle it through the engine and have it come out clean air!

Ok, I'm getting carried away here.

To sum it up:

Buying a car that does not rely on traditional petroleum fuel is not so easy, at least for the time being. I think things will change dramatically in the next 5-10 years. The little one is always saying that by the time she gets to drive fuel will be like $1000 per/gal! I always tell her she will not be driving traditional fuel vehicles; by God they may not even have wheels! After the 70’s energy crisis, shouldn’t we be driving cars with perfected alternative fuel technology by now?

Finding alternative energy sources is not just about rising fuel prices and not wanting to support the greedy oil companies, it’s about making this planet a better place to live and keeping it around for our grandchildren to enjoy.

Driving alternative fuel cars is one step, perhaps the first major one for you and me. We can also recycle, change our light bulbs, build more efficient homes, stop the use of harmful chemicals, and find alternative energy to fuel our homes!

I have been concerned with this topic since the early 80’s when it was not a fad. While I am glad that it is popular no matter the reason, people are changing their habits, which is what counts, I do not like that it is a trend. I am scared that oil prices will go down and then what? We all go back to consuming excessive amounts of energy, forget about our carbon footprint? I sure hope not.

Happy Trails Everyone!

Related Posts on WAHB:

OMG! A Car That Runs on Compressed Air!

Back to WAHB Home

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: