We have known for quite some time that the fossil fuels we use today are a finite source of energy. We only seem to disagree on when those sources will run dry. Alternative sources like electric and solar power have been around for quite some time, but none has yet supplanted dead dinosaurs. Presented here are some other fuels, some strange, some downright weird, that can be used to power your car.
- Trick-or-Treat – University students in England tested a Formula racing car that ran on fuel made in part from waste chocolate from a Cadbury plant. No word on whether or not the car was eaten after testing was complete.
- Gobble Gobble – Though perhaps not an idea to be embraced by turkey-lovers (Ben Franklin suggested, tongue-only-partly-in-cheek, that the turkey would make a more noble national bird than the eagle), viable fuel can be gleaned from virtually all parts of the bird.
- Starbucks In the Tank – Coffee grounds, which contain many oils, make a bio-fuel that is relatively cheap and clean to produce. It comes from an abundant source, and, of course, makes the morning commute a much more aromatic experience.
- Paper or Plastic? – Both paper and plastic can be made into fuel, and each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. We look with hope to the future for new ways to recycle waste products in a green manner.
- Blow Me Down – Wind turbines have been mounted on cars and been used to charge batteries that then power the vehicle. This system works best for those who live in tunnel-free expanses of windy salt-flats.
- Mulch for the Minivan – Not as strange as it sounds. Wood chips and sawdust are prime ingredients of what are known as “bio-mass” fuels, which are foreseen by some as the most likely replacements for petroleum-based fuels.
- Styrofoam – With so many Styrofoam cups littering our highways, it would be nice to see developed economically feasible methods of converting those cups into useful fuels.
- Dung Beetles? – Methane gas, available in your friendly neighborhood cow-patties, can be rendered into fuels to run an automobile.
- Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Car – Beans, soybeans in particular, are used to make bio-fuels, and are among the few sources that show real universal promise.
- Lend Me Your Ears – Ears of corn, that is. Ethanol is a fuel already in wide use around the globe and can be made from crops such as corn, potatoes, sugar cane and the ever-popular manioc (known more commonly as “cassava,” one of the most consumed sources of carbohydrates on the planet). Henry Ford was using ethanol in his Model T’s as early as 1908.
You won’t be able to run your car on tap water any time soon, but hydrogen (the “H” in H2O) is seen as a leading candidate to replace world dependency on fossil fuels. Stay tuned.
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