Fuel is to a car what oxygen is to a person. These man-made devices will be little more than showpieces without it. Currently, a variety of fuels other than fossil fuels are being explored, and cars are being changed to accommodate the fuel. But why just now? What is the point of looking for fresh alternative fuels?
Fossil fuels will not be around for much longer.
Using gasoline and diesel has surged by orders of magnitude in recent years, causing the deposits to deplete. We are now left with gasoline deposits that will endure approximately 50 years. This is a significant problem.
The real and most serious problem, however, is pollution. If pollution levels continue to rise at their current frightening rate, the Earth will be uninhabitable in less than 20 years. At the very least, the fuel deposits will outlast us. This is the primary reason that governments all over the globe are enacting tight emission rules to reduce pollution. These stringent measures, such as India’s BS6 pollution limits, would make it impossible to run automobiles on fossil fuels.
What other choices do we have for fuel? | Alternative fuel sources
So, what will power our vehicles? Will we be able to reclaim the horse carts? No, we won’t need horse carriages to go about. Engineers, researchers, and designers from all around the world are working to develop alternative fuels. Because the automobile sector is a foundation of every nation’s economy, its stability must be assured.
Electric-powered automobiles have entered the market in recent years. Automakers all around the world have introduced fully electrified drivetrain-powered automobiles, particularly in 2019. But it isn’t all. The motor industry’s R&D centres are also working on other projects.
The hydrogen fuel cell is one such option. Because hydrogen is very flammable, its usage is extremely hazardous because vehicles are prone to accidents. This is the cause behind the hydrogen fuel cell’s delay in usage. Although firms have created automobiles using hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hyundai’s Nexo is one such vehicle, which the firm claims is the world’s first hydrogen-powered SUV.
CNG has long been used as an alternative fuel all over the world. It is also utilised as a principal fuel in several Indian cities, both metropolitan and non-metropolitan. CNG has proven to be a less expensive option, and it is used in many cabs and automobiles.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative fuels?
Let’s delve deeper to find out more.
Electricity | Electric Vehicles
We’ll talk about the popular electric power train. An electric car emits no pollutants, making it a cost-effective option. Electricity is less expensive than gasoline. Because electric vehicles have fewer moving components, maintenance is less frequent and less expensive.
A petrol or diesel engine car has around 2500 components, but an electric vehicle has nearly 400 parts. As a result, less room is necessary to construct an electric car. Noise pollution is not an issue with an electric car. You may become confused whether your car has been started. This may be an issue for car enthusiasts who enjoy the sound of screaming motors. However, noise pollution is being reduced for the greater benefit. These are the astounding benefits of an electric car. However, nothing is perfect.
Most electric vehicles have a rather small range, making them unsuitable for prolonged journeys. The EV infrastructure in and around major cities is excellent. However, in locations other than these, there is little or no infrastructure to support the EV revolution. For many, the upfront cost is also a consideration. Because the batteries utilised take a long time to charge, EVs are less appealing. As a result, Ferrari has slated the unveiling of their first fully electric motor car in 2025.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells | The Power of H20
The hydrogen fuel cell is now available. Sole emission produced by a hydrogen fuel cell is water vapour. The fuel efficiency is more than twice as good as that of a gasoline engine. Hydrogen is abundant and can be produced using renewable energy sources. That’s rather efficient! Right?
No, hydrogen gas is one of the most combustible gases on the periodic table, making it an extremely hazardous chemical to utilise as fuel. Hydrogen storage needs proper infrastructure.
Gasoline | CNG or LPG
CNG seems quite spectacular because no one wants to get burned in ignited hydrogen or become trapped on the way to Ladakh because of battery discharge. CNG is a clean fuel that emits no hazardous emissions. The power output is equivalent to that of gasoline engines. However, CNG is hardly a fairy tale either; CNG tanks are enormous and take up a lot of trunks or boot room in a car. The refuelling stations have yet to be established across the nation, making it possible only in a few locations. CNG refuelling also takes far longer than gasoline refuelling, resulting in huge lines at CNG stations.
Do we have other alternatives for fuel?
We do, indeed. Nuclear Power. People have been terrified by the nuclear tragedies at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Many people are opposed to using nuclear fuel to generate any quantity of electricity. That nuclear energy is the cleanest energy source ever devised.
However, it has big negatives, and by major, I mean devastating major. A tiny nuclear disaster may destroy an entire city, causing significant devastation, while a sustained nuclear disaster can cause fatalities. Let’s leave it off the list for the time being until scientists and engineers discover a completely safe technique to store nuclear fuel and adequate disposal methods. And let us hope that no one in the nuclear energy research department is as desperate as Anatoly Dyatlov.
What is the government doing to address the fossil-fuel crisis?
Are there any provisions requiring individuals to utilise alternative fuel-powered vehicles? Is there any provision for providing incentives to those who use alternative fuels instead of fossil fuels, such as electric vehicles? Yes, the Indian government has granted different incentives and discounts to encourage the sale of electric vehicles. It has also helped many EV-related firms.
Now we have our top contenders: electric power train, hydrogen fuel cell, and, last but not least, compressed natural gas. All three competitors have showed their ability to be the Fuel of the Future. All of them have certain disadvantages.
Fossil fuels? What if it doesn’t?
People have been spotted referring to EV as the future. However, true devotees understand EVs cannot meet the demand that will be created if traditional gasoline and diesel engines are eliminated. The sensation of an electric vehicle is something that every real automobile enthusiast craves. Although businesses like as Tesla promise a great deal, smashing every cliché associated with EVs, it has yet to enter the Indian market.
As a car enthusiast, I will not favour the EV since the range it gives is far too short, and I will not like standing for 4-5 hours to supply electric fuel to the batteries in order to go forward. Yes, an electric car is the greatest alternative for city commuting. The finest plans, however, are those that do not involve any planning at all? And with EV, not preparing is not an option.
Most power is generated utilising fossil fuel facilities. Thus, clean energy is not clean, or at least not clean until most electricity is generated by nuclear power plants, about which many are concerned and oppose the fresh alternative fuel.
I’ve also driven a few CNG-powered automobiles. The primary concern is engine longevity. The traditional engines are not entirely capable of running on CNG. As a result, there is additional wear and tear, limiting the vehicle’s life. Maruti Suzuki has announced a desire to develop an entirely CNG-powered car soon, which may eliminate this issue because of the vehicle’s use of CNG fuel.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells: A Possible Future Fuel?
Science has always captivated people, and the hydrogen fuel cell is no exception.
The Nexo, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered car, is said to have a range of over 600 kilometres. It is nearly or more than twice as powerful as most electric cars.
The sole emitted substance is water. What could be better than having water on-demand when it is becoming increasingly scarce?
More energy equates to greater power, and more power equates to more excitement, and more thrill equates to a genuine vehicle. So, until we have nuclear-powered, ultra-safe automobiles, my vote will undoubtedly go to the hydrogen cell.
Perhaps in the future, we will have an ARC Reactor-powered automobile that is self-sustaining; no need to refuel. Simply keep driving. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of cars,” they say.