Alternative Fuels: Why are they Likely to Fail?

Essay by DiNzAHigh School, 12th gradeA-, May 2004

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A Fuel is a source of energy that can be use to run or power things. Fuels are used in our homes as a source of heating and power. They are used in forms of transport such as cars, boats, buses, trains and planes to enable them to run and they are also used in industry to power machinery and other vital equipment. All fuels that are currently being used have major draw backs.

After hundreds of years of using fossil fuels and burning coal we are now discovering the damage and effect of this on the earth and the atmosphere. As a result people have been striving to find a replacement energy source that will serve the same function, but will not cause the same degree of damage to the planet. Through this need for an alternate energy source to fossil fuels and coal, many alternate fuels have been created including biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen (used in fuel cells), methanol, natural gas(compressed natural gas/ liquefied natural gas), propane (liquefied petroleum gas) and solar energy.

The main concerns about alternate fuels are that they are often too expensive to constantly use and they also lack power and availability.

The most commonly used chemical fuel sources are petroleum and coal. In America and parts of Europe nuclear power is also used, but this is not a chemical fuel. Petroleum is very commonly used in cars and other means of transport. It is a fairly cheap source of energy and performs quite well, but petroleum sources are quickly being depleted and it is estimated that they will run out in 15 to 20 years. The use of petroleum also has large consequences for the planet, as the emissions from it are a cause of global warming and the greenhouse effect. Coal is often...