Future Energy for common car

Future Energy Sources for the
Common Car
Patrick de la Llana
Date: 11/15/12
• Most cars nowadays use gasoline or diesel as
energy source.
– Gasoline fuels engine by being ignited to produce
small explosions, and transfers energy from
driveshaft via transmission.
– Diesel does the same thing as gasoline but in a
different manner.
• Most cars use oil for cooling, lubrication, and
cleaning of internal components.
Info on gas
• Gas and oil are non renewable.
• Gasoline averages around 111,000-123,000 Btu
(British Thermal Unit). In America its around
114,000/gal and 18,000/lb.
• Btu depends on source of gasoline, so Btu can
• Btu=1.055 Joules, gets derivation from amount of
energy needed to heat 1 lb of water from 39F to
• Gasoline Engine has about 25-30 % efficiency.
Info on Diesel
• Releases more carcinogens per gallon than
• Better mileage than gasoline.
• Cheaper to produce than gasoline, but more
expensive due to supply and demand.
• Diesel engines most of the time have 45%
Example Btu chart
Diesel Engine
Possible Future Replacements for
current energy sources
Ethanol (Ethyl alcohol aka grain alcohol)
Natural Gases
Hydrogen fuel cell
• Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline.
• E85 (commonly used gas combo) uses
• Made from grain (just like moonshine).
• Burns cooler than gasoline (safer).
• Easy to make.
• Higher octane rating than gasoline.
How to make ethyl alcohol
• Grain is crushed.
• Grain is then fermented.
• Grain is then distilled to remove water.
Ethanol Cons:
• Btu of around 75,000 (for E85).
• Extremely corrosive ( specially made tanks
and/or engines, usually out of plastic or
stainless steel).
• A lot of farmland to ferment alcohol, and quite
wasteful for an energy source.
• Methanol is created by fermenting organic
matter (most of the time from natural gas).
• Has octane rating of 100.
• Because of this, allows for higher compression
and efficiency than natural gas.
Cons of Methanol
• 51% Btu of gasoline, so even worse than
• Flammable, and also expensive to produce.
• In total not environment friendly because
producing methanol from natural gases causes
a lot of CO2 release, making it
environmentally useless.
• Corrosive.
Natural Gases
• Produce way less CO2 and nitric oxides than
gasoline (60% and 90% respectively).
• Exhaust is cleaner than some cities.
• Octane rating of 130.
• Obtained by drilling, usually made up of
different components.
Cons of Natural Gases
• Gas has to be compressed to about 3000-3600
psi to be used.
• Btu is 44,000.
• Although cheap compared to gas, gives very
little power.
• Non Renewable.
• B100 Reduces CO emissions by 75% over regular
petroleum diesel, and B15.
• Made from sources other than petroleum, such
as animal fat, fry oil and vegetable oil.
• Rely on high compression to raise temperature of
air hot enough to ignite. Does not rely on spark
• No modifications to diesel type engine needed to
use biodiesel, also B100 has Btu of 130,000.
• Higher cetane rating than diesel.
Cons of Biodiesel
• B100 costs about 3.50$ a gallon.
• Waxing and solidifying in higher concentration
blends of Biodiesel (like B50 or B100). Fuel
must be hot to use.
• Require no warm up, cheap to refuel.
• Averages 2 cents a mile if going by average of
10 cents per kilowatt hour.
• Release very little emissions.
• Most hybrids nowadays use electricity.
Cons of Electricity
• Limited Range.
• Slow charging, and are unusable when not
• Most cars today get around 100-120 miles per
• Most of US electricity (half) comes from coalburning plants.
• Uses fuel cells which convert hydrogen to
electricity emitting only water and oxygen
byproducts (very small amounts).
• Abundant and easy to produce.
• ZEV=zero emission vehicle.
• Gas must be compressed to pressure of about
3000 psi.
• Used by modern rockets.
• Couple ways hydrogen can be used:
– Plain hydrogen gas
– Liquid hydrogen
– Reformer
• http://www.allpar.com/ed/diesel2.html
• http://auto.howstuffworks.com/diesel1.htm
• http://www.deepscience.com/articles/engines.ht
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetane_number
• http://energyquest.ca.gov/transportation/index.h
• http://www.howstuffworks.com/electric-car.htm
• http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuelefficiency/hybrid-technology/hydrogen-cars.htm
• http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alter
• http://energyquest.ca.gov/transportation/fuel
• http://www.solarhighway.org/HydrogenFacts.
• http://www.energyfuturecoalition.org/biofuel

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