Alt Fuel #3 – Biodiesel, bioethanol and such

For most who think they’re eco-conscious, the future is a humdrum of bikes, gliders and electricity. Well, the internal combustion engine is here to stay and won’t be going away anytime soon. Let’s look at the bright side: there’s a hundred years of R&D to behind current engine efficiency and performance, and that’s quite a head start compared to other means of propulsion. In 1990, 1.6l petrol engine got you some 90hp. Today a 1.4l gets you a mental 150hp. And with heavier cars and for less fuel! Ay caramba! If you let it keep evolving it’ll only get better. However, perhaps it’s time to reconsider exactly which chemicals our current internal combustion engines burn. Let’s start with biofuels.

Pros:
– Avoids the need for petroleum derivatives.
– Exhaust fumes are cleaner.
– Can be made from hemp (Hemp is one of the fastest growing biomasses known, and requires little to no pesticides, no herbicides, controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen).
– Biodiesel can be made unbelievably easily from used cooking oil.
– Bioethanol is very efficient as a fuel additive for petrol. Biobutanol can replace petrol altogether.
– Most cars don’t need a single modification to use most biofuels.
Second-generation biofuels may solve a lot of the cons of current biofuel production

Cons:
– Fuel instead of food. Lots of wheat and such is being diverted to make things such as biodiesel. Producing carburant for your car at the expense of feeding people is insane, selfish, immoral and just plain wrong. Second-generation biofuels may help solve this by using the non-food part of the crop like the chaff and stalks.
– Some biodiesel-production plants are filthy and pollutant, which is a bit of a contradiction.
– Certain 1.8l petrol engines, called Flexifuel, in new Fords and Volvos have been modified so they can use a certain type of bioethanol, E85. This is 85% bioethanol and 15% petrol. Ever heard of it? No? That’s the problem. This stuff doesn’t catch on easily. And I’ve never seen or heard of a pump for this kind of fuel. Hard to be widespread that way.

Intro
Hybrids and Plug-In Hybrids
Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Biodiesel, bioethanol and such
Carbon-neutral Algae-based fuels
Hydrogen fuel cells
LPG
Hybrid Retrofitting
Petrol/Diesel

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