Alternative Fuel - Alcohol

Alternative fuels that are alcohol based like ethanol and others are being considered as fuels of the future. The greatest advantage of alcohol as an alternative fuel is that it can be produced from agricultural products, and this is a resource that is completely renewable. All that you need is that your source material has to contain some carbohydrates and sugars and the process of fermentation or extracting the alcohol chemically is easy to set up and all the technologies for this have been well developed. This will also completely eliminate the requirement to import or even extract oil from its limited sources and make every country completely independent of the whims and fancies of the oil producing countries.

It is said that as early as 1925, Henry Ford made the first alcohol based motorcar and envisioned cars that could be run on produce from the farm or orchards. It is said that his was resented by the oil industry tycoons and a sustained campaign was launched by them which even led to the introduction of Prohibition, which completely banned the making of alcohol, and thus any hopes that cars could be run on it.

The ability to run cars on alcohol requires only a very small modification to the internal combustion engine and this is borne out by the fact that more than two million cars in Brazil run on ethanol. Brazil has been at the forefront of the use of alcohol as a fuel and actually produces ethanol from its sugar cane which is grown very widely in that country. The United States is setting up industries to use ethanol produced from corn. This diversion of corn to the ethanol industry has led to massive price rises in corn and corn products and therefore the ethanol industry producing the alcohol for use as an alternative fuel is facing a lot of opposition. The ethanol industry has yet to come to grips with the problem and has yet to focus its attention on using other agricultural wastes and other wastes as a base product.

Methanol has been used as an official fuel in all cars racing in the Indianapolis car races, and this has been in use since the 1960's. So the use of alcohol as a fuel for cars and even high performance ones has been proved over the years and does not need any further advocacy. The advantage of alcohol is that it does not contain a mixture of chemicals that gasoline does and therefore delivers more power and also causes less heat during its combustion, leading to cooler engines. Alcohol does not contain any lead, benzene, toluene and the like and is therefore very environmentally friendly as most of these products are carcinogenic. It has a high octane rating and would therefore eliminate the problem of knocking in car engines. It is less volatile and therefore safer than gasoline. It emits almost 95% less carbon monoxide than gasoline and green house gas emission can be reduced by up to 75% with alcohol as an alternative fuel.