What are alternative fuels?
Alternative fuels are non-conventional fuels used as an alternative to the conventional fuels. Conventional fuels include fossil fuels, coal, natural gas, etc., and elements like uranium and thorium which are used in nuclear power generation. On the other hand alternative fuels include, Bio-diesel, bio-alcohol, natural gas, vegetable oils, stored electricity etc. Alternative fuels are also referred to as bio fuels.
Bio fuel is a kind of fuel that contains usable energy in them due to the process of carbon fixation that happened recently (Fuel like petrol and diesel are got from a source that is formed over a lot of years). These fuels are produced by living organisms as opposed to formation solely due to inorganic chemical reactions. Bio-fuel can be produced by converting the existing bio-mass to energy-containing substances. This is done in three ways: thermal conversion, chemical conversion and bio-chemical conversion.
Ethanol is a bio alternative to gasoline. It is produced from the conversion of corn, barley and other natural products. The special feature of ethanol is that it is the only alternative fuel to gasoline that can run on a gasoline engine without any modifications. However, it is only used as an additive today. It is mixed with gasoline at different concentrations to cut down the emission dangers caused by pure gasoline. A 10% ethanol fuel means a 10% concentration of ethanol in gasoline. Most fuel stations in the US have the facility and in some places the concentration may even be higher.
Bio-diesel is a bio substitute for diesel and it is produced from sugar beet, rapeseed or palm oil. It is also sometimes individually prepared from the used oil from fryers. It pollutes the environment much less than diesel in that it does not produce much carbon-di-oxide. But mass production and continued usage of this is undesirable because it leads to afforestation.
Edible vegetable oil as such isn’t used as fuel; rather, low quality oils can be used for this purpose. Over time, vegetable oils are increasingly being processed into bio-fuel. Otherwise it is simply removed of its water content and other particles before usage. To ensure that the fuel injectors use vegetable oil efficiently and atomize it, the viscosity of the oil should be decreased to the level of diesel by heating with the use of electric coils or heat exchangers. This is easier in warm climates. Some companies even produce that can be run on straight vegetable oils without any aftermarket modifications.
Algal fuel is an alternative to other fossil fuel which is produced from algae. The implementation of this fuel in vehicles is not successfully done as yet but several companies and the government is pushing forward to the standardization of algal fuel as an alternative to main fuels. Algae can be converted into fuel using various methods. The lipid, which is the oily part of the algae, can be extracted in the same way as fuel is extracted from vegetable oil.