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Alternative Energy Sources for Cars: What the Future Awaits

from: Forsgrens

At the height of the muscle car era oil was believed to be limitless. But after the discovery in the 70's that there was a finite supply of oil in the world (and it left the word shocked), the dream of cheap gas price was nowhere in the list of possibilities. Effects were tantamount including the fall of several car manufacturers and great downsizing of engines and body size. But, this did not solve the problem of expensive oil and slowing down the rate of oil extinction. Now, the problem gets even bigger as oil prices are reaching its record heights.

This calls for a great demand to find alternative energy sources to run cars instead of gas, petroleum, or oil. The question right now is: What are the forms of alternative energy suitable to run cars?

First let's get to the facts.

Alternative energy sources may come in the form of water (tidal, hydroelectric, and wave energy), air, biomass or waste material, sun, and earth. But these only make up 10% of the total energy consumption in the United States. 88% of power is drawn from nuclear, coal, and natural gas. The remaining 2% comes from oil.

Meanwhile, all vehicles may it be trucks, cars, and SUVs are powered mainly by oil or fuel such as diesel and gas. However, buses today are starting to convert into the use of natural gases such as bio-diesel, vegetable oil, methanol and ethanol. These natural gases are often referred to as non-oil fuels. So, it may be logical to covert cars into moving wind turbines or mobile solar cells only to end the need to use the usual gas or oil. But, it would not answer the problem if we aiming for long term benefits.

So where are we heading?

The fact is: direct application of alternative energy could not be used for cars. So, instead of solar panels and wind turbines, what should we use? The answer: hydrogen. And it can already be seen on some cars today. Hydrogen-powered cars as they call them, use hydrogen as a main source of power.

So where is alternative energy gets involve? Hydrogen is not a raw material. It should be extracted from other resources. These resources are water, biomass, coal, and natural gas (methane). Today, the most favorable source of hydrogen is water and fuel cells are being installed on several car prototypes.

The process of extracting hydrogen molecule differs from one source to another but generally; electricity is needed to separate hydrogen from other elements.

Now we go to the future. The population has grown and there has been a significant increase in the demand for power and energy. This time, hydrogen-powered vehicles are very abundant. But, it does not guarantee that the hydrogen-powered vehicles will last for long. It may last for several decades as fuel-powered cars did but it may also come to its end.

So, we continue to seek for other alternative energy source for our cars. Who knows, future drivers only need one piece of solar cell to go for miles. Or, a single wind turbine can generate enough power to run the vehicle for miles.

Well, as of now, we only have to deal with our present problem, which is to find alternative energy sources to run our cars. We might already be solving it but the task is still big and the solution is far achievable.


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