7 Alternatives to Crude Oil On Their Way to the Main Stream Market
It seems that for the past decade or two, clean energy has been the most important sector for innovation on the earth. We’ve been relying on fossil fuels for centuries, but now the planet is striving to reverse our dependence on this resource. Some of the reasons for this movement include:
- The rapid depletion of crude oil in the world’s oil caches
- Environmental awareness and education becomes more and more accessible to students, or anyone who knows how to navigate a search engine well
- According to an industrial equipment testing company in Canada, 20/20 NDT, the environmental, financial, and political damage done from crude oil accidents is growing too great for governments and the public to ignore
- Alternative sources of energy could cost much less in monetary resources, natural resources, and in political diplomacy
Finding alternatives sources to fuel our everyday lifestyles is becoming increasingly more important. Luckily, there are many viable options slowly dethroning oil as the sole fuel source and proving that reducing fossil fuel emission is better for our world.
Similar to fossil fuels, CO2 is released when algae is burned, but this CO2 is not harmful to our planet. By using algae, current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would remain steady, preventing any further increase in greenhouse gasses. Studies show it could provide over 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre every year.
Fuel based in vegetable oil or animal fat, biodiesel can completely replace automobiles that run on diesel. It has better lubricating properties and can be harvested from a number of sources including fungi, coffee grounds, and alligator fat (which wastes away in landfills every year in the millions of pounds).
Alcohol fuels come in four varieties that are harvested from fermentation or sometimes from the simple combination of carbon dioxide and water. They are simple to produce and can be done so on a massive scale by employing the use of any type of biomass (animal waste included).
Created from nitrogen and hydrogen, this can be harvested through the work of a small machine and can be used where it is made. Because of this, it is extremely low cost, would reduce the amount of production plants needed, and produces no emissions. It even gives rise to the possibility of a self-fueling car.
Another zero emission fuel, hydrogen uses internal combustion to power anything from cars to spacecraft. It is known to be as safe as gas in regards to possibility of exploding.
As the name implies, compressed air is air compressed enough so that when it is released, it releases with enough power to fuel a car. Because it does not need an explosion, the car is piston free, and the price is at least 1/10 as expensive as fossil fuel.
Either compressed or liquefied, biogas is one of the cleanest combustible alternatives available. It is methane-based and, thus, renewable. Currently, it can be harvested from landfills, animal waste, and sewage. Measurements of air quality around cities that have started switching to biogas show cleaner air quality.
After the peak oil consumption of the 1980s, the world’s oil consumption is on the decline. New technologies will soon replace oil as we know it. For more information, check out Richard Sears’ TED talk called “Planning for the End of Oil”.
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