The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 82
ample supply of vehicles that can reliably utilize an alternative fuel; we need
ample distribution and supply outlets for the alt-fuel(s); and we need abundant
resources (preferably located on the North American continent) to ensure a
continuous supply of the raw material to produce the alt-fuel.
Next, we need available, plentiful, and affordable environment-friendly fuel solutions to the gasoline predicament (regardless of how or why the crisis exists
and which conspiracy theory you subscribe to).
THE CONTENDERS for the fuel solutions are:
• Electric (straight plug-in battery or fuel-cell related)
• Hydrogen - internal combustion engine
• Compressed air
• Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
A LOOK AT THE RUNNER-UPS
• Batteries are not yet a reality for highway-speed driving and distant trips, although they may be by the end of this year if Phoenix Motor Cars, Miles Electric,
Tesla Motors, and Think Electric Cars actually deliver on their promises of delivering their respective cars and trucks. However, none of these auto manufacturers are major auto producers and their ability to consistently deliver reliable
vehicles in volume is as uncertain as the battery technology itself. Because hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles also rely on batteries, this is also only a projection for
the future. At some point, batteries will undoubtedly figure in as one of, if not
the main method to power vehicles, assuming that an electric generation “crisis”
doesn’t replace the perceived gasoline crisis.
• Internal combustion hydrogen engines, my personal long-range favorite (and
Jay Leno’s too), appear to be a dead issue since none of the other major manufacturers want to support this BMW-led initiative. Granted, there are also significant issues related to the current hydrogen distribution infrastructure. So,
this may never be a workable solution or part of the mixed bag of solutions.
• Solar power for vehicles, while the sexiest of all solutions, is just a novelty and
will remain so until solar cell technology and battery technology improves substantially.