(The Gist of Science Reporter) Producing Alternative Fuels From Renewable Sources  [FEBRUARY-2019]

(The Gist of Science Reporter) Producing Alternative Fuels From Renewable Sources


Producing alternative fuels from renewable sources


  • The source of fossil fuel is finite, non-renewable and ever depleting. India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for its energy requirements and therefore, needs to identify renewable fuel sources which would help reduce import of petroleum crude.
  • There are several important steps that the country needs to take to carry forward research on renewable sources for production of alternative fuel and reaching the output to the remotest corners so that the poorest of the poor can be provided fuel at an affordable price.
  • The only non-renewable solid fuel that is still controlling the world's energy sector is coal, in view of the restricted utilisation of nuclear energy. The replacement of liquid fuel is a near difficult task in the coming several decades. So the world is slowly towards the use of hydrogen as the replacement of liquid fuels.

Types of Alternative Fuels

  1. Ethanol: Primarily alcohol is produced from fermentation and further distillation of crops like corn, barley, sugarcane bagasse, wheat. etc. It is blended with gasoline to increase octane level and improve emission quality.
  2. Natural Gas: It is already in use in several countries through utilities that provide natural gas to homes and it burns clean. Cars and trucks with specially designed engines run through natural gas with less Harmful emissions.
  3. Propane: The other name of propane is Liquefied Petroleum gas (LPG); it is a byproduct of crude oil refining and natural gas processing. It is widely used as cooking gas and a popular alternative fuel.
  4. Biodiesel: it is one of the fuels whose source is always renewable, It can be produced from vegetable oils or animal fats and also the cooking wastes of restaurants. Vehicle engines can be converted to run by pure biodiesel and it is also blended with petroleum diesel to run in modified engines also.
  5. Methanol: One of the present day important alternative fuels – much attention has been paid on cost-effective production of methanol, which can be used as a source of alternative fuel. It is an important raw material for production of fuel cell grade hydrogen to run hydrogen powered vehicles.
  6. Electricity: Electricity can be used as a transportation alternative fuel for battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles.
  7. Hydrogen: U can be mixed with natural gas to create an alternative fuel which can be used in some types of internal combustion engines. Hydrogen is the fuel for fuel-cell vehicles and is produced by the petrochemical reaction.
  8. P-series Fuels: These are blends of ethanol, LNG and methyltetrahydrofuran (MeTHE) in different proportions. The P-Series alternative fuels are clear and have high octane number with flexibility of choices of vehicles. It has the option of addition to normal gasoline.

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Courtesy: Science Reporter