Climate change is now more important than ever, and the amount of cars on the road plays a major factor in reducing this destructing process. Philip Gomm, from the RAC Foundation said, ‘Over the past 20 years, the rise in the number of cars on the road in Britain has been relentless, going up from 21 million in 1995 to 31 million in 2015’.
In 2008, the UK Government introduced the Climate Change Act with a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. With that said, it’s important to note that the source powering our cars in the future will stray away from relying heavily on fossil fuels. We’ve put together our predictions of the top 3 fuels we will be seeing in the future for our vehicles.
Types of Fuels
A biofuel is any substance that is produced using natural sources through processes that are biological and renewable. But what are the advantages of this type of fuel? Initially the price of biofuels is quite similar to its counterparts; however, the long term costs make biofuel more attractive.
Additionally, biofuels are not only cheap, they are also renewable. They can be reproduced through plants, switchgrass, manure and a variety of other sources.
The process for making biofuel involves the regurgitation of carbon that already exists in the atmosphere. The plant materials that are used have absorbed carbon dioxide beforehand through the natural plant process; photosynthesis. As a result it doesn’t emit CO2 into the atmosphere whilst the vehicle is in use, as opposed to the majority of today’s cars.
However, as you’ve been told, the grass isn’t always ‘greener’. Switching to biofuel appears to be cost effective, natural and environmentally friendly, so what about the bad side?
Research shows that biomass, the name of the process required to create biofuel, may be harmful to food production. This is because many sources used for biofuel are also used for food. However, cellulose is a suitable alternative for food materials as it is not needed in food production, and can be converted into a biofuel.
Biofuel is currently being used in cars, and there is a high chance that it will be used more in the near future, as the range of organic resources that can be made into biofuels is extremely diverse.
Straightforward and easy to understand, a close contender for biofuel is electric. In an electric powered vehicle, the fuel cell uses oxygen and hydrogen to generate a current to power the motor. Cars can be run either solely or partly on electricity. They can be recharged at a local charging station, or you can install one in your house garage.
Emitting only water and heat, electric cars are effectively ‘zero-emissions vehicles’. The fact also still remains however, that normal electricity, created from harmful gases is still used to power the vehicle, but the overall CO2 emission from them is next to nothing compared to petrol/diesel cars.
With more electric cars on the road now, and more incentives such a reduced road tax and Government bursary, it is safe to say that electric vehicles are definitely here to stay. But are there enough charging stations to power the amount of electric cars being sold? If you live in an area with limited access this could prove to be a problem. The issue of a higher cost (OTR) also comes into play, as electric cars are considerably higher in price compared to their counterparts.
Would you like to know more about electric vehicles? Have a look at our previous blog post Can Electric Cars Save You Money to find out more.
Solar powered cars require almost nothing to get started. After the hard work of fitting the solar panels on vehicles the rest can be handled itself. Solar cars are electric, and have panels that contain photovoltaic (PV) cells that transform sunlight into electric energy.
Depending on the amount of sun light the panels are able to absorb, a vehicle can be powered with enough energy to drive over 400 miles on a good day!
The only negative point about solar powered engines for the UK should be quite obvious; the British weather. Even though more research and tests need to be carried out to establish exactly how often a car can last during the day in the winter, there is still huge potential for solar energy to be a fuel for the future.
So there you have it, our top 3 fuels that we think will be strong contenders for powering cars in the future. All 3 fuels are efficient, long lasting and most importantly environmentally friendly.
What’s your view? What fuels would you suggest are to power tomorrow’s cars? Tweet us @WeWantAnyCar with your thoughts!
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