ALTERNATIVE FUELS: THE FUTURE OF HYDROGEN, 2nd Edition

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Revised and updated, Alternative Fuels addresses many of the factors affecting our energy use, including the availability and desirability of various fuels—especially the use of hydrogen. This new edition covers new hydrogen developments in technology, oil supplies and new drilling techniques, latest information on hydrogen highway projects, breakthroughs in fuel cell technology and ultra low emissions in transportation, the latest statistics on emerging oil markets, energy reserves, and carbon dioxide increases. Also included is material on energy policy, fuel supply trends, alternative scenarios, energy utilization, sustainable energy, cost analysis, fuel escalation, energy and development, regulatory issues, barriers to implementation, conversion systems, storage systems, thermodynamic efficiency, fuel chain efficiency, life-cycle efficiency, technology issues extracting, refining, air emission issues, safety, natural gas hydrogen gas, methanol, ethanol, steam reforming and fuel cells.

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Chapter 7 - The future of renewable biological energy systems

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The role of hydrogen and fuel cells in the global energy system

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The Truth about Hydrogen

Exclusive web offer for individuals on print books. Sale runs through Dec. Preview this Book. Add to Wish List. Close Preview. Toggle navigation Additional Book Information. Description Table of Contents. Summary Revised and updated, Alternative Fuels addresses many of the factors affecting our energy use, including the availability and desirability of various fuels—especially the use of hydrogen. DME is being developed as a synthetic second generation biofuel BioDME , which can be manufactured from lignocellulosic biomass.

Ammonia is produced by combining gaseous hydrogen with nitrogen from the air. Large-scale ammonia production uses natural gas for the source of hydrogen. Ammonia was used during World War II to power buses in Belgium, and in engine and solar energy applications prior to Liquid ammonia also fuelled the Reaction Motors XLR99 rocket engine, that powered the X hypersonic research aircraft. Although not as powerful as other fuels, it left no soot in the reusable rocket engine and its density approximately matches the density of the oxidizer, liquid oxygen, which simplified the aircraft's design.

Ammonia has been proposed as a practical alternative to fossil fuel for internal combustion engines.


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If produced from coal, the CO 2 can be readily sequestered [44] [45] the combustion products are nitrogen and water. Ammonia engines or ammonia motors, using ammonia as a working fluid , have been proposed and occasionally used. Ammonia engines were used experimentally in the 19th century by Goldsworthy Gurney in the UK and in streetcars in New Orleans. In a Canadian company converted a Chevrolet Impala to operate using ammonia as fuel. Ammonia and GreenNH3 is being used with success by developers in Canada, [49] since it can run in spark ignited or diesel engines with minor modifications, also the only green fuel to power jet engines, and despite its toxicity is reckoned to be no more dangerous than petrol or LPG.

On complete combustion it has no emissions other than nitrogen and water vapour.

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The first commercial vehicle that used ethanol as a fuel was the Ford Model T , produced from through It was fitted with a carburetor with adjustable jetting, allowing use of gasoline or ethanol, or a combination of both. The use of alcohol as a fuel for internal combustion engines , either alone or in combination with other fuels, lapsed until the oil price shocks of the s. Furthermore, additional attention was gained because of its possible environmental and long-term economical advantages over fossil fuel.

Both ethanol and methanol have been used as an automotive fuel. Since ethanol occurs in nature whenever yeast happens to find a sugar solution such as overripe fruit, most organisms have evolved some tolerance to ethanol , whereas methanol is toxic. Other experiments involve butanol , which can also be produced by fermentation of plants. Support for ethanol comes from the fact that it is a biomass fuel, which addresses climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, though these benefits are now highly debated, [54] [56] [57] [58] including the heated food vs fuel debate.

For this reason, for pure or high ethanol blends to be attractive for users, its price must be lower than gasoline to offset the lower fuel economy. Regional retail E85 prices vary widely across the US, with more favorable prices in the Midwest region, where most corn is grown and ethanol produced. In August the US average spread between the price of E85 and gasoline was Reacting to the high price of oil and its growing dependence on imports, in Brazil launched the Pro-alcool program , a huge government-subsidized effort to manufacture ethanol fuel from its sugar cane crop and ethanol-powered automobiles.

These ethanol-only vehicles were very popular in the s, but became economically impractical when oil prices fell — and sugar prices rose — late in that decade. In May Volkswagen built for the first time a commercial ethanol flexible fuel car , the Gol 1. In the United States, initial support to develop alternative fuels by the government was also a response to the oil crisis , and later on, as a goal to improve air quality. Also, liquid fuels were preferred over gaseous fuels not only because they have a better volumetric energy density but also because they were the most compatible fuels with existing distribution systems and engines, thus avoiding a big departure from the existing technologies and taking advantage of the vehicle and the refueling infrastructure.

This makes Diesel engines capable of achieving much better fuel economy than gasoline vehicles. Biodiesel Fatty acid methyl ester , is commercially available in most oilseed-producing states in the United States. As of , it is somewhat more expensive than fossil diesel, though it is still commonly produced in relatively small quantities in comparison to petroleum products and ethanol. Many farmers who raise oilseeds use a biodiesel blend in tractors and equipment as a matter of policy, to foster production of biodiesel and raise public awareness.

It is sometimes easier to find biodiesel in rural areas than in cities. Biodiesel has lower Energy Density than fossil diesel fuel, so biodiesel vehicles are not quite able to keep up with the fuel economy of a fossil fuelled diesel vehicle, if the diesel injection system is not reset for the new fuel.


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If the injection timing is changed to take account of the higher Cetane value of biodiesel, the difference in economy is negligible. Because biodiesel contains more oxygen than diesel or vegetable oil fuel , it produces the lowest emissions from diesel engines, and is lower in most emissions than gasoline engines. Biodiesel has a higher lubricity than mineral diesel and is an additive in European pump diesel for lubricity and emissions reduction. Heating to the temperature of engine coolant reduces fuel viscosity, to the range cited by injection system manufacturers, for systems prior to 'common rail' or 'unit injection VW PD ' systems.

Waste vegetable oil, especially if it has been used for a long time, may become hydrogenated and have increased acidity.

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This can cause the thickening of fuel, gumming in the engine and acid damage of the fuel system. Biodiesel does not have this problem, because it is chemically processed to be PH neutral and lower viscosity. Modern low emission diesels most often Euro -3 and -4 compliant , typical of the current production in the European industry, would require extensive modification of injector system, pumps and seals etc.


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  7. Vegetable oil fuel is not suitable for these vehicles as they are currently produced. This reduces the market as increasing numbers of new vehicles are not able to use it. However, the German Elsbett company has successfully produced single tank vegetable oil fuel systems for several decades, and has worked with Volkswagen on their TDI engines.

    Greasestock is an event held yearly in Yorktown Heights, New York , and is one of the largest showcases of vehicles using waste oil as a biofuel in the United States.

    Hydrogen Fuel Tech Just Got A Major Boost

    Compressed Biogas may be used for Internal Combustion Engines after purification of the raw gas. The use of biogas is particularly interesting for climates where the waste heat of a biogas powered power plant cannot be used during the summer. In the s Tang Zhongming made an invention using abundant charcoal resources for Chinese auto market.

    The Charcoal-fuelled car was later used intensively in China, serving the army and conveyancer after the breakout of World War II. High-pressure compressed natural gas , mainly composed of methane, that is used to fuel normal combustion engines instead of gasoline. Combustion of methane produces the least amount of CO 2 of all fossil fuels. The driver can switch between CNG and gasoline during operation. Natural gas vehicles NGVs are popular in regions or countries where natural gas is abundant.

    Widespread use began in the Po River Valley of Italy , and later became very popular in New Zealand by the eighties, though its use has declined. CNG vehicles are common in South America, where these vehicles are mainly used as taxicabs in main cities of Argentina and Brazil. Normally, standard gasoline vehicles are retrofitted in specialized shops, which involve installing the gas cylinder in the trunk and the CNG injection system and electronics. Vehicles with this adaptation are known in Brazil as "tri-fuel" cars.

    Formic acid is used by converting it first to hydrogen, and using that in a hydrogen fuel cell.

    It can also be used directly in formic acid fuel cells. Formic acid is much easier to store than hydrogen. A hydrogen car is an automobile which uses hydrogen as its primary source of power for locomotion.