Introduction

 

With the everlasting advancements of technology,
the public can ill afford to slip up or they can have a massive task at hands.
Though it is great that these brilliant minds are constantly coming up with
great ideas, us humans have created a toxic environment on earth and it could
soon become inhabitable due to the various greenhouse gases present in the
atmosphere. This does not mean that all hope is lost yet as there is still time
to improve and fix. The clearest solution is for people to make the switch over
from conventional gasoline engine cars to “Green Cars”. This would reduce the
amount of greenhouse gases emitted from vehicles to drastically drop which
would create a much safer environment on this planet.  This essay is to study the various types of
green fuels and their capability to be the next main source of transportation.

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Types of
Green Fuels and Cars

 1)    Hybrid

2)
   Hydrogen Fuel Cell

3)
   BioDiesel

4)
   Solar

5)
   Electric Motor

6)
   Hydrogen Gas

 

 

 

Hybrid

            Hybrid cars have become more popular and common in recent
years. This is because many automakers have turned their attention to
manufacturing more hybrid vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions. Hybrids are vehicles that
utilize one or more forms of energy to attain propulsion. Most often, they rely
on gasoline and electric in North America but there also diesel – electric
vehicles in Europe. That means that a Hybrid will still have a regular
international combustion engine and a fuel tank, alongside one or more electric
motors and a battery pack. Their focus is to maximize the use of the electric
portion as the electric motors are more efficient and produce no emissions.
Hybrids have various technologies in order to increase the efficiency of the
vehicle.

 

Features:

 

 Stop – Start system – The
stop – start system is present in all hybrids which serves a sole purpose of
shutting of the engine while stopped at traffic signals and automatically
restarts it again with the electric motor when the driver releases the brake
pedal. Eliminating the fuel waste of idling gas engines increased the overall
Mpg to rise substantially and emissions to drop.

 

Regenerative Braking – The regenerative braking feature
allows the car to recharge the battery when slowing or coasting downhill. This
differs from normal cars where they waste all their momentum as heat in the
brakes. This braking system in itself is unable to stop a car quickly, meaning
that hydraulic brakes are still necessary.

 

Electric Drive – Operating the vehicle on electric
power alone is possible if the hybrid system has enough electrical capacity.
This would produce no emissions.

 

Types of Hybrids

 

 Full Hybrid – Full hybrids
are the most fuel efficient as they use various different technologies and are
the most thoroughly engineered solutions. The annual fuel consumption for a
fuel hybrid car is often half of its regular competitor. They can choose to
operate in series mode, parallel mode, or all-electric mode.

 

Mild Hybrid – Limited to parallel hybrid mode. A
mild hybrid has a battery and a helper motor, but both only operate while the
gas engine is on. They are unable to propel the car without the gas engine also
putting in some effort.

 

Plug-In Hybrid – There aren’t many of these vehicles
around as they are a step forward from the full hybrid. They include all the
beneficial features of a full hybrid but the main difference being the size of
the battery. This allows the vehicle to travel for longer distances on full
electric mode.

 

Advantages

 

 Environmentally Friendly –
Runs cleaner and has better gas mileage. The twin powered engines (gasoline and
electrical motor) cut fuel consumption and conserves energy. Hybrid cars are
less -dependent on fossil fuels which in turn would also help reduce the price
of gasoline in the domestic market.

 

Financial Benefits – Supported by many credits and
incentives that help to make them affordable. Lower annual tax bills would
allow a person to spend less money on fuel.

 

Higher Resale Value – Due to the ever-increasing prices of
gasoline, many people are turning towards the idea of owning hybrid cars. The
result is that these green vehicles would then bring in higher than average
resale value.

Disadvantages

Limited Power – The gasoline engine which is usually
the primary source of power is much smaller as compared to what you get in
single engine powered car. The electric motor also can’t produce as much power
as the gasoline engine which makes the combined power of both less than that of
a single gas-powered engine vehicle. This would therefore make the car more
suited for city driving rather than speed and acceleration.

 

Expensive – The biggest drawback of having a
hybrid car is that it can often leave a big hole in your pocket. Hybrid cars
are comparatively expensive compared to a regular gasoline car and can cost
from $5000 to $10000 more than a standard version. However, that extra amount
can be regained due to the lower running cost and tax exemptions.

 

High Voltage in Batteries: In the case of an
accident, the high voltage present in the batteries can be lethal. The chance
of you getting electrocuted in such circumstances is high which can also make
the task difficult for rescuers to get people out of the car.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

 

Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to
power an electric motor. Unlike conventional vehicles that run on gasoline or
diesel, fuel cell vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity,
which powers a motor. Since they’re powered entirely by electricity, fuel cell
vehicles are considered electric vehicles (EV). Although unlike other EVs,
their range and refueling processes are comparable to conventional cars and
trucks. A benefit of converting hydrogen gas into electricity produces only
water and heat as a by-product, meaning fuel cell vehicles don’t create
tailpipe pollution when they’re driven.  

 

Advantages

 

Available and Renewable –  Bountiful in
supply, though it requires a lot of energy to harness there aren’t many other
resources as unlimited as hydrogen.

 

Completely clean –  The by-products of burning
hydrogen is completely safe, meaning that it would have 0 side effects. Is also
completely harmless to the health of humans.

 

More efficient – Able to convert most of its energy
into an abundance of fuel. This would mean that a vehicle that utilizes the
form of hydrogen as its energy will be able to travel more miles than its equivalent
gasoline counterpart.

 

Used for powering space ships – Hydrogen’s energy
efficiency also makes it an ideal power source for the most powerful of
vehicles – the spaceship. Its tremendous power is able to quickly fire
spaceships into space to undertake exploration missions. It is 3 times more
potent than gasoline which means that you need much less hydrogen to complete a
difficult task.

Disadvantages

Expensive – The two main processors of hydrogen
extraction are extremely costly. It is one of the driving reasons as to why
it’s not used across the globe.

 

Storage Complications –  Hydrogen has
to remain at liquid stage and has to be stored at lower temperatures to
guarantee its effectiveness as an energy source. This is another reason as to
why transportation and common use it not quite feasible just yet.

 

Unsafe – The power of hydrogen should not be
underestimated. Even though gasoline is the more dangerous between the two,
hydrogen is also extremely flammable catching headlines around the world often.
Gasoline in itself admits an odor when it’s leaking so it’s much more easier to
recognize whereas hydrogen has no smell which means detecting leaks is
impossible unless sensors are installed.

 

Cannot sustain the population – Although hydrogen
is bountiful in supply, the cost of harnessing it limits its utilization. It is
also hard to disrupt the norms as fossil fuels still rule the world. There is
also no proper framework in place to ensure cheap and sustainable hydrogen for
future car owners.

 

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a form of renewable and
clean energy which utilizes waste from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled
restaurant grease. Biodiesel produces much less toxic pollutants and greenhouse
gases compared to petroleum diesel. There are many variations of biodiesel. It
has already helped many countries in reducing their complete dependence on
foreign oil reserves as it can be produced domestically. With this being said,
it can be used in all diesel engines without having to alter the modification
of the engine or fuel system.

 

Advantages

 

Can Be Used in Existing Diesel Engines – Can easily be used
in existing without having to modify the engine. This means that it could
replace fossil fuels to become the most preferred source of transportation
energy source. Biofuels can also improve engine lubrication and increase engine
life due to its sulphur free mixture.

 

Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Various fossil
fuels when burnt tend to release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into
the atmosphere which contributes to global warming. Using biodiesel has a
chance of reducing greenhouses gases by up to 78%.

Grown, Produced and Distributed Locally – Biodiesel is an alternative form of fuel and can significantly reduce
our foreign dependence on oil. It can be produced locally which negates the
need to import expensive finished products.

 

Better Fuel Economy – It has been proven that vehicles
which run on biodiesel achieve 30% better fuel economy than their
petroleum-based counterpart. Therefore, you will have to make fewer trip to gas
stations and run more miles per gallon.

 

Disadvantages

 

Variation in Quality – As it is made from a variety of
crops, the results can vary in their ability to produce the same amount of
power.

 

Not Suitable for Use in Lower Temperatures – Biodiesel turns into gels in colder weather but the temperature at
which it will turn into gel depends on the crop used to make it.

 

Food and Water Shortage – Since biofuels are
made from animal and vegetable fat, it could rise the demand for these products
thus raising the prices of them. This could lead to an increase in crisis for
some countries. Also, as the demand increases, this could lead to more water
being used to grow the crops which can put pressure on local water resources
where it is scarce.

 

Increased Use of Fertilizers – Since crops have fertilizers used on them, it could
have a degrading effect on the environment. The excess use of fertilizers is
known to cause soil erosion and land pollution,

 

Solar

One of the biggest differences between
a regular car and a solar car would be the additional panels built into the car
which serves a purpose of obtaining energy from the sun. This energy is then
converted into usable energy for the car. The solar panels on the car often
contain hundreds of photovoltaic cells which converts the sun energy into
electrical energy that the car can use. The energy from the sun is then sent to
the battery which is then directed to the electric motor which helps the
propulsion of the car. Some cars can also direct the energy straight to the
motor eliminating the need for a battery. Solar cars are also often designed
with a distinctive shape as the designer’s objective is to minimize the drag
and car weight while increasing exposure to sunlight.

 

Advantages

 

Eco-friendly and Quiet – Zero emission
levels as they utilize renewable resources negating the need to burn fuel. The
cars are also quieter than their counterparts which use conventional fuels,
thus reducing noise pollution as well.

 

Energy Availability – Solar cars derive energy directly
from the sun, which always shines and provides unlimited energy. The efficient
solar panels that are installed are able to produce and store more
energy/horsepower for future use.

 

No Fuel Costs – As they do not utilize any
conventional fuels, they would have no fuel costs which is a big benefit in the
long terms as it can save you thousands. Additionally, their maintenance costs
are also relatively low.

 

Disadvantages

 

Design – They require a large surface area
for the mounted solar panels, have low wind resistance which could cause it to
topple over in strong winds and can only seat a maximum of 2 passengers.

 

Poor Practicality – Lack driver safety features and
various other equipment such as wiper blades, headlights and rear-view mirrors.
Also lack suspensions, chassis strength, steering, brakes, secured solar panels
and the arrangement of the batteries also need to be accounted for.

 

Expensive Replacements – The solar panels
and batteries are often way too expensive to be changed often. This is one of
the major downsides of it and makes it extremely cost inefficient.

 

Energy Storage Capacity – The cells can only
convert roughly 15-30% of sunlight into electricity, which is extremely limited
considering up to 85% of the energy can go to waste. Makes it an extremely
inefficient energy converter.

 

Electric Motor

The Electric car is also a relatively
new concept in the automobile industry. Most companies offer hybrid vehicles
that work off both electricity and gas, but electric cars are one that utilize
only electricity. Electric cars run mostly on electricity. They differ from
conventional vehicles as they utilize an electric motor that is powered by
electricity from batteries or a fuel cell. Electric vehicles get their power
from rechargeable batteries that are pre-installed inside the car. These
batteries not only power the car but are also the source of power for lights
and wipers. Electric cars have many more batteries than a regular gasoline car.
The batteries are the same kind as a regular car though the only difference
being they come with many more than one to power the engine.

 

Advantages

 

No Gas – They are completely charged by the
electricity, meaning you will never have to go to a gas station just to refuel.
Fuel based vehicles can often burn a hole in your pocket as their prices have
been at a steady rise and have reached all time highs. Switching to an electric
car can save you up to $4000 a year on gas alone as that’s what the average American
spends yearly. Though there is the fact that electricity isn’t free, it is
significantly less than the price of gasoline.

 

Savings – As they can be recharged for
extremely cheap prices, you can save money throughout the years. Also, many new
cars offer great incentives to get money back from the government for going
green.

 

No Emissions – They are 100% eco-friendly as they
run on electrically powered engines that produce no emission. This would mean
that it does not emit toxic gases into the environment which could have a
deteriorating effect in the long term. They are also much more viable and
cleaner than hybrids as hybrids also utilize gas that produces emissions

 

Safe to Drive – Electric cars also undergo same
safety tests as other fuel powered cars. In the case an accident to occur, one
could expect the airbags to pop out like a regular gas vehicle. Also, if you
were worried about being electrocuted in your own cars due to the battery, it
has been tested to simply cut electricity supply from the battery.

 

Cost Effective – In the past, not many would have even
imagined or thought about the idea of owning an electric car due to its
extremely high prices. Though in recent years, with recent technological
advancements, both the cost and maintenance have gone down. Alongside this,
various tax incentives have brought down the overall cost, thus, making it more
cost effective.

 

Disadvantages

 

Charging stations – Electric Fuelling stations are in
still in the development stages and not many places you go to daily will have a
station. This could be a huge downside for many buyers as long-distance trips
can be a problem because if you run out of a charge, you may be stuck there for
a while.

 

Electricity Comes at a Cost – Electric cars,
usually cheaper than gas can be a huge additional expense to your electricity
bill if you do not consider your options carefully. If research was not done
before-hand, buying the wrong electric car can be a poor investment as some
require a huge charge to function properly which could drastically increase
your monthly bill.

 

Limited Speed and Driving Range – Electric cars are
limited by range and speed as they have a relatively low range of about 50-100
miles before they need to be recharged again. Since it is still new to the
industry, you can’t expect to use it for long distances, although it is
expected to improve soon.

 

Longer Recharge Time – As you may well know, it usually
takes a couple of minutes to fuel a gasoline powered car but with an electric
car, a full charge can take roughly 4-6 hours. Due to this, dedicated power
stations are required, and they are looking for ways to minimize the amount of
time it takes to recharge.

 

Hydrogen Gas

A Hydrogen internal combustion engine
vehicle is a type of hydrogen vehicle that differs from hydrogen fuel cell
vehicles as it utilizes combustion rather than electrochemical conversion. It
is simply a modified version of a traditional-gasoline powered internal
combustion engine. Hydrogen fuel, in simpler terms is a type of fuel that
produces no emission when burned with oxygen. It is also used in the propulsion
of spacecraft and has the potential to be mass produced and used regularly on
passenger vehicles and aircraft.

 

Advantages

 

Similar Design – As the hydrogen engine is similar to
the design of a regular internal combustion engine, the infrastructure of the
current vehicle will not need major altercations and will be easy to adapt to
the new fuel.

 

Abundance – Hydrogen is the one element that is
known for its abundance and can be used without emitting and toxic or
greenhouse emissions.

 

More efficient – Able to convert most of its energy
into an abundance of fuel. This would mean that a vehicle that utilizes the
form of hydrogen as its energy will be able to travel more miles than its
equivalent gasoline counterpart.

 

Disadvantages

 

Expensive – The two main processors of hydrogen
extraction are extremely costly. It is one of the driving reasons as to why
it’s not used across the globe.

 

Storage Complications –  Hydrogen must
remain at liquid stage and has to be stored at lower temperatures to guarantee
its effectiveness as an energy source. This is another reason as to why
transportation and common use it not quite feasible just yet.

 

Cannot sustain the population – Although hydrogen
is bountiful in supply, the cost of harnessing it limits its utilization. It is
also hard to disrupt the norms as fossil fuels still rule the world. There is
also no proper framework in place to ensure cheap and sustainable hydrogen for
future car owners.

 

Conclusion

            In conclusion, I believe that the type of energy which will
be the most dominant in the next ten years or so will undoubtedly be solar
powered vehicles. The many advantages of solar energy is one of they key
reasons as to why I chose this over the other energy sources. Also, scientists have predicted that solar energy
will be the most economical form of energy in the coming years. Though
they have also gone on to say that it would only be possible if the rate at
which the solar industry finds ways to improve the efficiency of solar cells
continues to rise steadily. Another reason would be the fact that solar
and electric vehicle battery prices have been at a steady drop for many years,
while the cost of fossil fuels continues to rise and rise. The cost of solar
cells is rapidly decreasing and is expected to reach the same price of coal per
watt soon. This would make it extremely cost efficient, which is currently a
major drawback. Though solar energy is still not widely recognized, it would be
good to know that the first solar car designed for every day use entered
commercial driving in 2014. The car can travel up to 500 miles on a single
change and is the first of it’s kind designed specifically for family use. This
is already a major step forward and the future is bright for solar energy
vehicles. Making the decision between the other energies was a tough one as
some of them are already advantageous in the present time. But, if we were to
look at the long-term perspective, solar energy is easily expected to surpass
that.

 

            This
assignment was nothing less than great. It was one that gave students the
opportunity to research and learn about the various green fuels present in the
world. This assignment showed us the various energy sources that could possibly
take over the popularity from fossil fuels. It also thought us to analyze as we
had to pick and choose the best system amongst the ones we compared. Comparing
the various energy sources is beneficial as it would teach us the advantages
and drawbacks of one another while allowing us to see which has the biggest
potential in the near future. I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and would
not mind doing it again.

 

Resources

https://www.fastcompany.com/1760900/five-predictions-future-energy

 

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-electric-cars.php

 

https://www.cartrade.com/blog/2015/greens/solar-cars-pros-and-cons-1181.html

 

http://www.scientificera.com/science/41/144-solar-powered-cars-advantages-and-disadvantages.html

 https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages_disadvantages_biodiesel.php

 

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages_disadvantages_hydrogenenergy.php

 

http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/hydrogen/basics/utilization-ice.htm

 

 https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybridtech.shtml

 

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/how-do-hybrids-work#.WjLF_VWnGUk

 

The Three Main Types Of Hybrids Explained

 

https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/what-is-a-hybrid-car-how-do-hybrids-work.html

 

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/how-do-hydrogen-fuel-cells-work#.WjLFY1WnGUk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/06/27/why-are-car-manufacturers-ignoring-hydrogen-engines/#665570954027

 

https://www.autoblog.com/2009/08/20/greenlings-why-choose-a-fuel-cell-or-an-internal-combustion-eng/

 

https://sciencing.com/hydrogen-advantages-disadvantages-6040258.html

 

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-electric-cars.php

 

https://www.cartrade.com/blog/2015/greens/solar-cars-pros-and-cons-1181.html

 

http://www.scientificera.com/science/41/144-solar-powered-cars-advantages-and-disadvantages.html

 

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages_disadvantages_biodiesel.php

 

 

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/advantages_disadvantages_hydrogenenergy.php

 

  http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/hydrogen/basics/utilization-ice.htm

 

  https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybridtech.shtml

 

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/how-do-hybrids-work#.WjLF_VWnGUk

 

The Three Main Types Of Hybrids Explained

 

https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/what-is-a-hybrid-car-how-do-hybrids-work.html

 

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/how-do-hydrogen-fuel-cells-work#.WjLFY1WnGUk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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