Alternative fuel is here to stay. Over time, we have come to think of bio fuel and bio diesel as not only a possible concept, but a probable one. While it would be better if we were already on cheap, low-cost, sustainable fuel right now in its entirety, we have definitely come a long way from the petroleum based fuels of yesterday. Every day, we get closer to this hopeful solution. Sometimes, looking at our past progress brings new hope for the future. Let’s look at some ways in which alternative fuel has advanced in the past.
Advances in Ethanol
In 1908, Ford Motor Company used an ethanol based fuel in its very first Model T. In 1920, Standard Oil used ethanol in its gasoline to help with engine knocking. In the 1980’s, ethanol was part of ETBE, which was an oxygenate added to gasoline. By 2006, new blends of petroleum based fuels using ethanol were reported as being harmful to auto and marine engines.
Advances in Petroleum
The mid 1850’s found kerosene in widespread use in lamps. Petroleum was found to be lighter and more easily compressed than coal, and its use was found to be less dangerous than working with coal fire and combustion. While coal was used for many decades after that, for both fuel and heat, oil became the new standard, and coal began being weaned out, much like petroleum is being weaned out today, due to ecological concerns.
Advances in Gas
Natural gas consists primarily of methane and the concentrations of this are found to be different in different areas, and includes other gases, such as nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, carbon monoxide (poisonous), and occasionally hydrogen sulfide. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is often used in areas where natural gas is not available, and can be maintained under relatively low pressure. Both natural gas and LPG are used as fuel, in heating, and sometimes for other, smaller uses. However, they are both dangerous to use improperly because they are highly flammable and poisonous to breathe, so they must contained properly or humans could die from suffocation.
Energy Development over Time
Energy has been acquired and used over time in many different ways and new changes and advances in different types of fuel have been refined in the past several decades. Unfortunately, the same amount of time may be required to find alternative fuel sources which are non-petroleum based and which are healthy for the earth and for plant and animal life on the earth.
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