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 have been around for quite some time, including electric power and solar power, but none has yet supplanted dead dinosaurs. Presented here are some other fuels,some strange, some downright weird.
- 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 completed.
- Gobble Gobble – For turkey-lovers (Ben Franklin suggested, tongue-only-partly-in-cheek, that the turkey would make a more noble national bird than the eagle), the idea of putting a Tom into the gas tank might seem anathema, but viable fuel can be made from virtually all parts of the bird.
- Starbucks In the Tank – Coffee grounds, which contain a lot of oils, make a bio-fuel that is relatively cheap and clean to produce, 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, though the future may show us many new ways to recycle waste products in a green manner.
- Blow Me Down – Wind turbines have been mounted on vehicles, and they have 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 called “bio-mass” fuels, which are foreseen by some as the most likely replacements for petroleum-based fuels.
- Styrofoam – With as many styrofoam cups as we see littering our highways, it would be a nice thing to see if economically feasible methods of converting those cups into useful fuels can be developed.
- Dung Beetles? – Methane gas, available in all your friendly neighborhood cow-patties, can be rendered into fuels that can 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-eaten 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.