Just in case you might not have heard, there’s a great big ol’ alternative fuels race going on right now. The prize for the winner is huge, as the US is pretty much the biggest consumer of cars and trucks on the planet although an emerging China is going to be knocking on that door soon. You could say that a well-engineered car that runs on something that we can produce in our own borders would be a boon to an industry that’s, shall we say, going through quite the downturn here lately.
My personal two favorites to pull ahead are algae-based biodiesel and hydrogen.
Why, you might ask? Because those two will both clean up the environment, add jobs to a struggling economy trying to find its way through an identity crisis and most importantly, they will work with our existing infrastructure and driving habits. I don’t especially think we need a mountain of batteries from expired Prius(es), nor do I really want to wait four hours for my electric car (which would get electricity from burning coal, by the way) to be able to move after leaving me stranded somewhere.
Formidable obstacles stand in the way of biodiesel and hydrogen, though. Biodiesel only makes sense if you can actually buy a diesel car to use it, which is much more a problem in America than you’d think. Hydrogen is not really a net energy gain, since it takes a fair bit of energy to get the most abundant element in the known universe from breaking apart from the other elements in your average hydrogen-containing molecule. That last bit though, might be made immensely easier to accomplish thanks to the new hope of hydrogen-heads everywhere: animal pee.
You read that right. Yay pee. According to GreenCarReports.com, animal pee could be the next big thing to help us get our car-fix.