Alternative fuels

Alternative fuel

Alternative fuel (alternate fuel), also known as non-conventional fuels, is any material or substance that can be used as a fuel, other than fossil fuels, or conventional fuels of petroleum (oil), coal, propane, hydrogen, and natural gas. The term "alternative fuels" usually refers to a source of which energy is renewable.

The main purpose of fuel is to store energy in a form that is stable and can be easily transported from the place of production to the end user. Almost all fuels are chemical fuels, that store chemical potential energy. The end user is then able to consume the fuel at will, and release energy, usually in the form of heat for a variety of applications, such as powering an engine, or heating a building.

Some well known alternative fuels include biodiesel, ethanol, butanol, chemically stored electricity (batteries and fuel cells), hydrogen, methane, natural gas, wood, vegetable oil, biomass, and peanut oil.

In the year 2000, there were about eight million vehicles around the world that ran on alternative fuels, indicating the increasing popularity of alternative fuels {citation needed}. There is growing social interest, and an economic and political need for the development of alternative fuel sources. This is due to general concerns of sustainability, both environmental, economic, and geopolitical. A primary concern is that the fact that the use of conventional fuels directly contributes to the global warming crisis. Another concern is the problem of peak oil, which predicts a rising cost of oil derived fuels caused by severe shortages of oil during an era of growing energy consumption. According to the 'peak oil' phenomenon, the demand for oil will exceed supply and this gap will continue to grow, which could cause a growing energy crisis by the year 2010 or 2020. Lastly, the majority of the known petroleum reserves are located in the middle east. There is general concern that worldwide fuel shortages could intensify the unrest that exists in the region, leading to further conflict and war.Source from

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