Non-conventional fuels- the pathway to a sustainable future

Since the era after the global integration of economies began, we have seen disastrous changes in the environment, be it rising temperatures, resource depletion, or ozone thinning. A major chunk of reasons leading to the above scenario comprises excessive utilization of conventional fuels. Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum have been prevalent since ancient times but today they face increasing scrutiny because of the pressure they create on the environment. Fuels like coal, natural gas, and petroleum contribute to global energy production by 80%, portraying a heavy dependence of industries and households on them. Furthermore, petrol and diesel serve as the primary fuels for 65% of motor vehicles to date. 

Conventional fuels will eventually run out and traditional fuels, including petroleum, will be depleted. The use of other fuels considerably decreases harmful exhaust emissions (such as greenhouse gas, carbon monoxide gas, material, and sulfur dioxide) moreover as ozone-producing emissions. Also, according to a commonly accepted theory, burning fossil fuels is causing temperatures to rise within the earth’s atmosphere (global warming). 

The vapors given off when fuels evaporate and the substances produced when they are burned (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons) contribute to air pollution. Burning fuels also produces carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Coal, oil, and gas development pose myriad threats to our waterways and groundwater. Coal mining operations wash acid runoff into streams, rivers, and lakes and dump vast quantities of unwanted rock and soil into streams. Though heating continues to be just a theory, plenty of individuals across the world are of the idea that discovering sources of cleaner-burning fuel is an important step towards enhancing the standard of our environment. Alternative fuels will be less costly to use, not just in terms of the fuel itself but also in terms of extended service life. This successively means savings in the long run.

Is there a solution?

With the incessant demand for fuel and fearing the end of our resources, humans have started to turn to alternative fuels. Let’s discuss a few of them:

  1. Natural gas- Natural gas, although being a fossil fuel, has two distinct advantages as alternative fuel: it is abundantly available and is believed to burn significantly cleaner than petroleum-based fuels. It is also less expensive than gasoline. Unfortunately, natural gas vehicles aren’t generally available, and the production process can result in large methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.
  2. Ethanol– This well-known gasoline fuel is made from an alcohol that may be made from a variety of crops, including corn and wheat. The main advantage of ethanol is that it burns cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, though not quite as clean as biodiesel. It’s also a popular choice because of its environmentally friendly manufacturing procedure.
  3. Electricity– Manufacturers have been experimenting with electricity as a vehicle power source for many years, and this trend isn’t anticipated to stop anytime soon. What are the advantages of electricity? It’s really efficient, and there’s already a lot of electrical infrastructure in place.
  4. Biodiesel– It has a lower carbon impact than other fuel alternatives, and it’s already compatible with practically every diesel vehicle on the road, making it simple for the auto industry to transition to higher biodiesel-content mixes over time. Biodiesel also has a highly sustainable manufacturing process that produces little toxic waste items.