The world is slowly going green, and alternative energy sources are major research and development projects in the scientific world. Recycling and organic farming have come a long way in reshaping the way the world consumes and produces, but we haven’t kicked the addiction to burning fossil fuels that really hurts our environment. Electric cars, solar power, and wind energy have been around for a long time and produce excellent results, but they haven’t broken our dependence on oil and most of us are still pumping gasoline into our cars every day.
In order to solve the oil problem, scientists are looking for alternative sources for producing fuel. Many researchers are making significant advances in the production of biodiesel, a family of fuels derived from plant or animal fat. Across the world, scientists are hard at work synthesizing fuels from waste products including old chocolate, soiled diapers, Thanksgiving turkeys, and human fat from liposuction. A little disturbing maybe, but these new fuel production concepts have the potential to greatly reduce our dependence on oil. Biodiesel fuel from waste is an ingenious application of recycling ideas.
One of the most interesting recent developments in green fuel technology is the air powered car. An engine that runs on compressed air rather than volatile combustion produces no emissions, and this could become a viable option in the near future. Some even theorize that they will be cheaper than gasoline powered cars, and it’s easy to see why. Major car manufacturers are well aware of this technology, of course. Not long ago, Ford collaborated with UCLA researchers to build a compressed air hybrid engine that works similar to currently available electric hybrids and may even be more efficient.
In other places, fuels are being derived from ethanol, hydrogen, and natural gas. Methane has been explored as a fuel option, and it just so happens that the livestock industry has been producing methane and releasing it into the atmosphere is huge amounts for years. Cows in particular release gallons of methane every day, and this easy burning fuel is being wasted on a gargantuan scale all the time. Recently, a farm in Vermont began converting its cow waste into methane gas as a means to produce electricity.
The possibilities are vast and near limitless. Usable fuel can be derived from coffee grounds or polystyrene coffee cups, products that create massive amounts of waste and biodegrade so slowly that they are almost impossible to manage. The oils in coffee grounds can be refined into fuel and polystyrene can be melted into biodiesel. Coffee producers all over the world are now a viable resource for recycled fuel. Really, all that coffee waste could be going into your gas tank rather than the trash can.
The green movement has come a long way, and it’s set to go further. These are only a few of the many alternative fuel options emerging all over the world. Whether automobiles and airport transportation will be running on coffee, chocolate, methane or pure air, is still unclear. But in the next few years, it could very possibly be something besides gasoline going into our tanks.