12 Types of Alternate Fuel Sources (for Present and Future)

Due to scarcity of petrol, its price is increasing at a tremendous rate every year. There are many types of energy sources that are renewable and environmental friendly, currently available for use. These energy sources also provide an alternate way for a clean source of energy. Now scientists are developing green sources of energy to reduce the dependency on oils. There are many expectations of new energy sources that will come by next few years. The following list features different types and alternate fuel sources. We have listed both alternate fuels that are currently in use and that are being developed.

Currently Available

12. Electricity

ElectricityPhoto credit: Wikimedia commons

Electric cars or battery powered vehicles are one of the best alternate options to fossil fuel powered vehicles. Due to recent technologies, the electric cars have become a popular vehicle. A few times ago, moving an electric car at high speed for long distance was like impossible. Now electric cars also powered by lithium ion batteries just like your smartphone and it gives better performance both in cities and highways.

11. LPG, LNG and CNG

LPG, LNG and CNGPhoto credit: Wikimedia

This section contains all three liquid and compressed gases, liquid petroleum gas, compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas. CNG is available in both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. According to the latest statistics, there are more than six million CNG powered vehicle running in the world. Liquid Natural Gas is best in all these three because it is more energy dense and can power large vehicles such as trucks.

10. Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen FuelPhoto credit: Wikimedia

Hydrogen fuel is a zero emission fuel that is used in cars, boats and aircraft. Hydrogen is used in two types of engines, fuel cell vehicles and those vehicles that have an internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen. There are few cars available in the market, but this fuel is not used on a wide scale. Due to no safety purpose from unwanted explosions, it is still not used commercially in all vehicles. Recently a group of inventors developed a small power plant fueled by hydrogen and pure oxygen and named their project “The Rainbow Solution”.

9. Ammonia

AmmoniaPhoto credit: Wikimedia

How many of you know that ammonia can also be used as an alternate fuel. It has lots of benefits such as low cost, no emission and it causes very less pollution. Ammonia was used in the World War II to power rail engines and buses. It is also considered a practical alternate to fossil fuel for internal combustion engines. It is second most produced chemical in the world so this one could be the future of alternate fuels.

8. Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid NitrogenPhoto credit: Flickr

Liquid nitrogen is another type of emission less fuel. The engine works by heating the liquid nitrogen in a tank from where it uses the generated pressurized gas to rotate the piston. It is an eco-friendly and efficient way to power a vehicle. This fuel is already invented a few years ago, still it is not used commercially because of some disadvantages. However, it includes few advantages such as less pollution, lower maintenance cost, recyclable and many more.

7. Coal

CoalPhoto credit: Wikimedia

Coal is the primary source of energy to produce electricity. In 2010, world coal consumption was over seven billion tonnes and it is expected that this stat will increase by around 50% before 2030. More than 50% of the worldwide electricity is generated through coal. The electricity generated from coal is cheaper as compared to electricity generated from gasoline. This is one of the best alternate fuels, which powered millions of cars around the world.

6. Biofuels

Next Generation BiofuelsPhoto credit: Wikimedia

Biofuel is a renewable source of energy which made from living organisms such as plants and microalgae. Biofuel is majorly categorized into Biomass, Algae based fuel and Biodiesel. Now scientists have come up with the idea of using next generation biofuel, which could fulfill the requirement of fuel in the future. Now scientists are hoping to complete a goal to fulfill the requirement of a quarter of the world fuel by 2050.

Future Energy Sources

5. Beer

BeerPhoto credit: Wikimedia

Actually, this is not exactly beer. From a long time, alcohol has been used as fuel, but not on a large scale. Methanol and ethanol are considered as the primary sources of energy and they are also a very convenient source of energy. They are also used in internal combustion engines as alternate fuels. There are also many concerns about this fuel such as high rate of sugar and limited technology to make it on a large scale. Still, scientists are developing this energy for the future.

4. Chocolate

ChocolatePhoto credit: Flickr

There is no doubt that everyone love chocolates. Have you ever imagined a fuel can be made from chocolates? Recently a microbiologist Lynne Mackaskie and her team at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom found a way to produce hydrogen fuel from the chocolate wastes. Hydrogen produced from chocolate wastes offers a greener and carbon free energy source. It is expected that this form of fuel will be available before 2025.

3. Compressed Air

Compressed AirPhoto credit: Wikimedia

The compressed air is an emission free fuel and considered as the best alternate fuel. It is more than ten times less expensive than the fossil fuel. Tata Motors, an Indian car company is working for last many years to develop a car powered by compressed air fuel. Their idea is to fill a tank with CO2 and run the piston by pressurized gas which drives the wheel of a lightweight car. The company claimed that they will make a compressed air car very soon.

2. Nuclear Power

Nuclear PowerPhoto credit: Wikimedia

In the mid-1950s, Ford Automobile designed a concept car and named it Nucleon because it was intended to run on nuclear power. But it was never manufactured. But now, scientists are thinking to make this real. They want to produce a more powerful and efficient fuel source. In some designs, the United States used a small nuclear reactor in satellites to power it. The nuclear power plant releases lots of energy with many harmful materials and scientists are still trying to minimize that.

1. Water

Water - Alternate Fuel SourcesPhoto credit: Wikimedia

Also Read: Best Hybrid Cars In The World

Most of you might think that this is disgusting and irrelevant. In a 1996 film, a team of researchers was trying to produce energy from water. In real world, most people think that this is kind of an impossible task to accomplish. In 2007, a biologist accidentally discovered a way to burn salt water using radio waves that could also power a small engine. This development hasn’t gone far due to limited available technology. If this could be a reality in the future, then there will be no problem of power for next several thousand years.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is an experienced science and technology journalist interested in machines, AI, and space exploration. He received M.tech degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out what his latest project is, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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