Alternative car fuels you should know about

We are all aware that the diesel or petrol internal combustion engine has been a driving force in the automotive industry for 100 years or more. We also know that this model is unsustainable and environmentally hazardous, so let’s take a look at a range of alternative fuel supplies.

These alternative fuels have something in common, which is that they do not rely on non-renewable fuels (fuels from sources that will eventually run out, such as coal and oil). For this reason, each of them is welcomed by the industry, including those who work in motor trade insurance. Another consideration is that the government has pledged to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

Biofuel

Biofuels are made from sugarcane, corn, and biodiesel from animal fats and vegetable oils. They are highly regarded by experts and those within motor trade insurance.

Electricity

The UK’s most popular green vehicle is the Nissan LEAF; however, battery-powered vehicles are not that efficient and are expensive. Electric cars are commercially viable, however, starting at £5,000. If you are in the trade, check out sites online that provide motor trade insurance quotes.


Steam

The fuel in a steam car is combusted externally and away from the engine, which helps to lower emissions.

Kinetic

Brake energy regeneration systems convert normally wasted energy into electric energy. Such systems are already part of electric vehicles and look set to be more popular in the future.

Heat

Did you know that a whopping two-thirds of petrol- and diesel-generated energy is wasted as heat? Converting heat to electricity using something called thermoelectric technology can reduce this.

Hydrogen

Instead of fossil fuels, hydrogen can be used in all combustion engines, with car manufacturer BMW already selling such cars. Interestingly, hydrogen can also produce electricity through powering a fuel cell; however, the technology behind this is currently too expensive to be a quick fix.

Air

Air that is compressed can replace petrol in a standard engine. As you would expect, this produces zero emissions.

Nitrogen

If stored in a tank, liquid nitrogen can be heated to produce gas; in turn, this can drive a rotary engine or a piston.

LPG

Liquefied petroleum gas can power cars, although less than one per cent of cars on UK roads are currently fuelled by it.

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