The internal combustion engines powered by petrol and by extension diesel have been around for a long time. The automotive industry took a leap with the introduction of the internal combustion engine (ICE) with Ford’s Model T. The ICEs have evolved a long way, to reduce emissions into the environment and reduce the reliance on non-renewable fuel sources.
While works are in process to make ICEs more environment friendly, automakers are also investing in making other power sources for automobiles, especially renewable energy sources. Here are five alternatives to Petrol for powering vehicles:
Of all the possible alternative power sources for driving a car, electricity is the most viable. Many car manufacturers have come into the market and are consistently pushing out new designs with higher performance and range. It works by using a battery pack to power the motor which pushes the vehicle. When the battery runs down, it is recharged through a dedicated power source. It has lesser moving parts which mean lower costs for maintenance.
Biofuel is targeted at producing fuel to power cars from renewable sources. Bioethanol is an example, which is developed from sugarcane and corn and can be used in place of petrol. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils and animal fats and replaces diesel. These examples are viable and can replace non-renewable crude oil. It is only considered a short-term solution since it is obtained from food substances.
The steam engine was used before the development of the ICEs. It was an external combustion engine that worked by heating water externally which produced steam used to drive the vehicle. When it was used in previous times, it weighed a lot and was not very effective. With the advancement in technology and metallurgy, steam vehicles weigh less today. Although it is not in mainstream production right now, many car manufacturers have laid hands on it in recent times to come up with a solution. Modern manufacturers are looking into it because steam-powered engines are quiet and give off significantly lesser emissions. It also has instant acceleration like what is observed in an electric vehicle.
Air can be pressurized and stored in tanks used to power vehicles. Highly pressurized air stored in 4500 psi tanks can be used to power engines and does not produce any form of emissions. Car manufacturers like Tata in recent times have proposed mainstream vehicles powered by air. The only downside is that air is not energy-dense compared to fossil fuels.
Hydrogen-powered cars have also been in the works for a while now. Hydrogen-powered cars do not produce any emissions, rather, they give out water through their tailpipe. Many proponents of hydrogen fuel suggest that the water given off through the tailpipe is safe for drinking.
The idea behind other sources of fuel for driving vehicles is to reduce the emissions given out to the environment while getting renewable sources of energy to drive a sustainable society. Many of these solutions still require refining before they can be used in mainstream vehicle production.