Alternative fuels and vehicles.

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Electrical Cars

There are not many fully electrically operated cars in existence, however the Nissan Leaf is making good progress.
From the 1800s there has been development of electrically operated vehicles or EVs with limited or no success. The reasons are many and varied, but some smaller vehicles have thrived on being electrically operated. the humble milk float for instance. The milk float is old technology and tends to just use the energy from it's batteries until they are very low but a car such as the Nissan Leaf can help to recharge it's own batteries as it goes along.
One of the key advantages of electric cars is the fact that the electricity for charging the car can be derived from various sources whereas petrol or diesel driven cars can only utilise fossil fuels as a power source.
Electricity can be generated from fossil fuels but also wind, solar, wave, or nuclear power. Early electric cars were very popular because of the ease of use. When the more powerful internal combustion engine was introduced it became the vehicle of choice for most and the oil producing companies have become rich on the sales of fossil fuel derived fuels. The electric car has enjoyed some success in the past decades but the power of the oil producing nations and companies to keep the technology from becoming the transport of choice has meant that the money to go into research and development and then production and infrastructure has not been forthcoming. With the cost of fossil fuels continueing to rise the re-emergence of the electric car seems to be inevitable and the quest by some manufacturers to produce something unique and push the boundaries has resulted in the production of the Tesla Motors Roadster or Darkstar. This car which was first released in 2008 can accelerate from 0-60mph in approximately 3.8 seconds(depending on model) and reach a top speed of 125mph.

Hybrid cars

The Toyota Prius has been with us now for a few years but we have seen a few issues with Toyota brake problems. Hybrid cars use 2 or more ways to supply forward motion to the car or vehicle. In the Toyota Prius it has a petrol engine as well as electric motors.

Natural Gas

Compressed natural gas (CNG), liquified natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen-natural gas blends (HCNG).
Similar to propane(see below) in it's use.

Propane

More commonly known as LPG, this has become the fuel of choice for many who wish to save money on fuel costs as well as lower their environmental impact. Now the 3rd most common fuel type in vehicles, there is some initial outlay for the LPG conversion from petrol so usually it would be for higher milegae car users who will see a return on the investment. Propane is cleaner as a fuel than petrol or diesel so this also may be a contributing factor in it's choice.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen fuel cells are extremely clean and produce no conventional pollutants. Now becoming more cost effective as the technology becomes more common and better understood the issues of storage and range are still factors in why it has not been taken up by the mass market. The hydrogen fuel cell is basically a unit which can converta chemical reaction into electrical energy which can then drive motors to drive a vehicle.

Biofuel

(Biomass = plant derived material) Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol(from corn and other starchy materials), can be used either as an alternative fuel or as an octane-boosting, pollution-reducing additive to gasoline.
There are four basic steps in converting biomass to bioethanol:
1. Producing biomass results in the fixing of atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon.
2. Converting this biomass to a useable fermentation feedstock (typically some form of sugar) can be achieved using a variety of different process technologies. These processes for fermentation feedstock production constitute the critical differences among all of the bioethanol technology options.
3. Fermenting the biomass intermediates using biocatalysts (microorganisms including yeast and bacteria) to produce ethanol in a relatively dilute aqueous solution is probably the oldest form of biotechnology developed by humankind.
4. Processing the fermentation product yields fuel-grade ethanol and byproducts that can be used to produce other fuels, chemicals, heat and/or electricity.

Biodiesel

Made from vegetable oil or sometimes animal fats this can be used in diesel engines with very few if any problems. Some people already use vegetable oil recycled from the waste of chip shops and other fast food outlets.

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