Edmunds.com Says Next Generation of Auto Fuel May Be Quite Literally Pure Garbage
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — March 17, 2011 — Fueling up your car may one day be as easy as cleaning out the refrigerator or taking out the trash, says Edmunds.com in its latest look at the new innovations in alternative fuels. In "Weirdest Types of Car Fuel," Edmunds.com contributor Francis Soyer examines some of the new fuel alternatives that are looking to push gasoline off its perch.
"The government and automotive industry are making strides toward the new era of fossil fuel replacement," says Soyer. "For now, gasoline appears to be dominant, but with rapid changes in technology, the future of car fuels may be closer than we think."
Some of the fuels under scrutiny by scientists include:
- Garbage: Waste Management, Inc. is liquefying and purifying landfill gas to fuel trucks, so the method is already in use. Producing liquid gas reduces emissions?and the stink.
- Soybeans and Animal Fats: Soybeans, vegetable oil and animal fats can be used to make clean, nontoxic diesel fuel. Diesel engines need few or no modifications to accommodate this biodiesel fuel.
- Sawdust: The lumber industry generates thousands of tons of sawdust each year. An add-on wood "gasifier" allows the dust to fuel the automobile.
- Corn: E85 flex-fuel engine vehicles run on E85 ethanol, most, if not all, of which is derived from corn. Right now, E85 is slightly less potent and more expensive, but it has potential. Many consider corn ethanol to be environmentally harmful, however, which is an obvious obstacle in the way of becoming more mainstream.
- Hemp: Fermented oils of hemp seeds or stalks can be used to create a biodiesel fuel that is both cheap and efficient. The plant can also be fermented to make ethanol.
- Air: Currently, high-pressure compressed air storage tanks exist to fill tires, but on a larger scale it could run cars. With the right tanks, this could be the most widely available and cleanest fuel yet.
- Sun: An annual solar-powered car race in Australia proves that this type of automobile can be functional. The spatula-shaped cars aren't what we currently consider aesthetically pleasing, but fashion is known to change.
- Algae: Algal fuels can take the forms of biodiesel and bioethanol. Farmers require less land space than crop-based sources and only ocean or wastewater to grow and cultivate algae.
- Bacteria: Scientists can genetically engineer microbes to make the "output" chemically identical to crude oil, which can be sent to refineries to produce gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and tar. The process is complicated but entirely possible.
For more detailed information on new types of fuel, visit the "Weirdest Types of Car Fuel" (http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/weirdest-types-of-car-fuel.html), on Edmunds.com. The Green Car Advisor at Edmunds' Auto Observer.com page also highlights the biggest trends in the future of green automotive technology at http://www.autoobserver.com/green/.
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.