Pollution from cars: alternative fuels

Chemical Storylines DF6-DF10.

Alternative fuels for a car engine.

OCR Salters B F331

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Diesel

Is it sustainable?

  • No, crude oil is running out

Benefits:

  • Less CO produced than from a petrol engine
  • Already sold at petrol stations

Risks:

  • Produces more NOx and particulates than a petrol engine; particulates can irritate lungs
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LPG or autogas

Is it sustainable?

  • No, crude oil is running out

Benefits:

  • Less CO, CO2, CxHy and NOx produced than from a petrol engine
  • Petrol engines are easily converted

Risks:

  • Needs to be stored under pressure, so that it is a liquid
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Ethanol

Is it sustainable?

  • Possibly not; large amounts of energy needed for cultivating sugar cane for fermentation

Benefits:

  • Less CO, SO2 and NOx produced than from a car engine
  • Ethanol has a high octane number
  • Sugar cane absorbs CO2 in growth

Risks:

  • Highly flammable
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Biodiesel

Is it sustainable?

  • Can be made from waste plant and animal oils and fats, so it is renewable, but fossil fuels may be used as an energy source in production

Benefits:

  • Living things have absorbed CO2
  • It is biodegradable
  • Less CO, CxHy, SO2 and particulates produced than from a diesel engine

Risks:

  • NOx emissions higher than a diesel engine
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Hydrogen

Is it sustainable?

  • Only if the electricity needed for electrolysis of water is from a renewable source, such as solar cells

Benefits:

  • Water is the only product of combustion

Risks:

  • Highly flammable
  • High pressure fuel tank is needed to store it as a liquid
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