Fuel is something consumed to produce energy, especially a material such as wood, coal, gas, or oil burned to produce heat or power. The first use of fuel was the combustion of wood or sticks by Homo erectus near 2 million years ago. Throughout the majority of human history fuels derived from plants or animal fat were the only ones available for human use. Charcoal, a wood derivative, has been used since at least 6,000 BCE for smelting metals. It was only supplanted by coke, derived from coal, as the forests started to become depleted around the 18th century. Charcoal briquettes are now commonly used as a fuel for barbecue cooking. Humans have been consuming fossil fuels since the industrial revolution, because they were more readily available then the existing standards such as whale oils, and they were much cheaper to produce. Currently the trend has been towards renewable fuels, such as biofuels like alcohols.
With growing demands, it has been predicted that the world will soon go short of fuel. That is why; it is strongly recommended that alternative fuels should now be brought to practical use. Alternative fuels, known as non-conventional or advanced fuels, are any materials or substances that can be used as fuels, other than conventional fuels. Conventional fuels include: fossil fuels (petroleum (oil), coal, propane, and natural gas), as well as nuclear materials such as uranium. One of the promising alternatives is so-called cellulosic ethanol, which is made of non-food crops such as the bagasse of sugarcane, wood and grasses. Brazil and the U.S. lead the research while in Denmark has already made cellulosic ethanol available at a network of pumps across the country. Algae based biofuels have been hyped in the media as a potential cure to our Crude Oil based Transportation problems. Algae could yield more than 2000 gallons of fuel per acre per year of production. The navy is successfully testing algae based fuels.
Another alternate is Natural gas that burns clean and is already widely available to people in many countries through utilities that provide natural gas to homes and businesses. When used in natural gas vehicles—cars and trucks with specially designed engines—natural gas produces far fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel. It is extremely proficient. Another option is electricity; electricity can be used as a transportation alternative fuel for battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles. Battery powered electric vehicles store power in batteries that are recharged by plugging the vehicle into a standard electrical source. Fuel-cell vehicles run on electricity that is produced through an electrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined. Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion or pollution. Lastly, we have hydrogen. Hydrogen can be mixed with natural gas to create an alternative fuel for vehicles that use certain types of internal combustion engines. Hydrogen is also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the petrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the fuel “stack.”
Tips and comments:
I think that the use of alternate fuels is not the only solution to fuel shortage; we also need to cut down our consumption. With approximately 1 billion cars on the roads, we can’t expect to have enough fuel to last forever. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the need of alternative fuel sources as the conventional fuel sources aren’t sustainable and are bound to end one day. The best alternative source is the hydrogen fuel. It is not only efficient, but also quite economical. Countries with weaker economies cannot always afford electric fuel or nuclear fuel. They’ll have to compromise on their standards and hydrogen isn’t too bad either. I would strongly recommend the usage of hydrogen instead of conventional fuels as its quite beneficial.
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