Good Electric Cars Vs. Biofuel Cars Research Paper Example
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There are seven billion people currently living on this planet, and this number is still rapidly on the rise. And with the increase in population comes the increase in other areas as well. For example, the demand for basic needs will increase significantly. One of these basic needs is food, and before any kind of food is served either at home or in a fancy restaurant, products must be transported from a producer such as a farm. Agricultural produce must be transported by means of vehicles which nowadays use gasoline. But since the invention of a diesel engine, it became apparent that the use of this kind of petroleum as fuel affects the environment significantly. The depletion of petroleum resources also adds to the problem . To minimize the advert effect of petroleum fuels, scientists have since been making breakthroughs on alternative fuels or sources of fuels.
Although it has been stated that using diesel or gasoline as fuel for internal combustion engine is the most cost-effective transportation system, alternatives like electric cars and biofuel-driven cars have been taken into consideration to replace diesel fuel . These innovations are required to have low, if not zero, emissions in order to be classified or considered as “environmentally-friendly”. This paper will discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and the future of alternative-energy cars. Moreover, biofuel cars and electric cars will be compared as to how they were designed to address the problem in the increase of carbon emissions to the environment. Finally, any possible adverse effect to human health will be explored.
Biofuel, as the name implies, is an alternative fuel source from organic materials, As a whole, biofuels present benefits such as reduction of the emissions of greenhouse gas, sustainability, agricultural development, as well as the security of oil supply . Biofuels being considered as an alternative for diesel are biodiesel and bioethanol. Biodiesel is biodegradable, oxygenated and renewable. It is made out of acid methyl or ethyl esters extracted from animal fats or vegetable oils . On the other hand, bioethanol comes from grains, sugarcane, corn and other similar crops .
Biodiesels are considered as an environment-friendly fuel source. They also do not pose a great threat to human health. As mentioned earlier, biodiesel can be extracted from vegetable oil which does not contain metals, crude oil, and sulfur. These three components contribute to the production of acid rain by the emission of sulfuric acid and sulfates into the atmosphere. Research studies have proven that a 20 percent blend of biodiesel with petroleum displayed a significant decrease in visible smoke and odor. A downside to biodiesel is its production of NOx or the different form of nitrogen-containing compounds. One research has claimed that if biodiesel undergoes combustion at higher temperatures, the emission of NOx is higher as well. But then, if the oxygen content of the biodiesel blend is increased, the ignition time of the engine will be reduced as well as its peak burning temperature. A decrease in the peak burning temperature of the fuel means a decrease in the production of NOx emissions . In terms of performance, there are several factors that affect the engine power delivered through the use of biodiesel. One of these factors is its content wherein the amount of biodiesel to be blended with diesel results in a difference in engine power performance. Scientists say that if the biodiesel content of the blend is increased, the engine power will decrease. Other studies have also further explained this theory. The hypothesis is that initially, as the content of biodiesel is increased, the power also increases but reaches a maximum and from there, the power decreases with the further increase of biodiesel content. This decrease in the power output is due to biodiesel’s lower heating value. A low heating value also means that higher fuel consumption is needed when using biodiesel. On the other hand, the high lubricity of biodiesel contributes to reduced loss in friction which improves the brake effective power .
Ethanol was used as a fuel by Henry Ford when he designed his first automobile. From there, ethanol was not given much attention due to insufficient production and high price although ethanol had clear advantages over gasoline. These advantages include the reduction of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbon. Also, ethanol has a high octane number which means a higher compression ratio as compared to that of gasoline-fuelled engines. Ethanol is widely employed, because firstly, it can be produced from what is called “cellulosic biomass” (which is then rightly referred to as bioethanol). Secondly, since ethanol is made up of hydroxyl groups, it contains high levels of oxygen which contributes to the combustion of gasoline. Lastly, from findings, it was found that when ethanol is added to gasoline, there is a decrease in carbon monoxide and NOx emissions (Liaquat, Kalam and Masjuki).
Another solution to the increasing level of greenhouse gas emission is the introduction of electric cars and other kinds of transportation. A big advantage of electric cars over alternative fuels is that it does not produce any local air pollutant. Since these cars run on electricity, they do not contain combustion mechanisms which produce the unwanted emissions. However, even with these advantages, together with good performance and usability, there are still other factors to consider such as high cost, limited model choices and speed .
There are several kinds of electric vehicles, namely, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and the battery electric vehicles (BEVs). HEVs use gasoline, battery and have an electric motor. The gasoline is used as fuel while the battery and the electric motor are used to assist acceleration as well as in recovering kinetic energy, which is stored in the battery when the brakes are applied. Typically, the batteries of HEVs are small and can be used to drive for 2-3 kilometers running on the battery alone. PHEVs also use gasoline as fuel but it can be charged through an electric outlet as well. Running on the battery alone, PHEVs can reach up to 60 kilometers then afterwards, it will use the gasoline to power the vehicle. For this, the gasoline is considered as an auxiliary source of power. Finally, BEVs do not involve the use of gasoline at all. They do not have an exhaust pipe or a gas tank and can run up to 100 kilometers. The BEV can be charged via wall outlets and charging stations. But for this very reason, the public is not so enthusiastic with BEVs because of the scarcity of charging infrastructures. And since BEVs run on batteries, the limitations in battery technology apply to BEVs as well, such as a battery’s sensitivity to temperature changes which can affect the 60% of the range .
Although electric vehicles have low emissions compared to vehicles that run solely on fuel, there are still disadvantages. One is the high price of EVs. The most expensive part of the electric vehicle is its battery, which accounts up to 50% of the overall cost. A high-priced vehicle will definitely drag down its advantage of being environmentally friendly. Thus, reducing the price of the battery or the installation of a cheaper battery can decrease the overall price of the vehicle as well (Ing). Moreover, electric vehicles are in need of electricity, and the use of these kinds of vehicles can also affect the electricity grid thus having the need of grid reinforcement. The main constraint of electrical vehicles is the possibility of thermal overload in the transformers particularly in urban and suburban networks that are heavily loaded. Moreover, electric vehicles are only as efficient if the battery life lasts as long as the vehicle itself. In the event of battery replacement, this will result to a higher level of greenhouse gases emissions as well as the decrease in market potentials. The greenhouse gas emission will not result from the vehicle itself but it will come from the manufacturing of the replacement battery for the vehicle .
For developing countries, the use of electric vehicles might be better than the use of vehicles with internal combustion engines. Price wise, the EVs are more expensive owing to the technology of the battery used in the vehicle. It is important to take note that these batteries should indeed have a long cycle life. But an effective transportation system that is solely electric vehicles will require more capital costs dedicated to charging stations strategically placed in every area. That is, the area considered is a developed country. That is why vehicles running on biofuels would still be more advantageous in terms of implementation. Biofuels need not wipe out the existing petroleum products because its aim is to lower greenhouse gas emissions by developing biofuel blends. Also, it is more advantageous due to the fact that biofuels can be used in existing vehicles compared to electric vehicle which are entirely different manufactured vehicles. The only requirement for biofuels now is to further decrease the emissions such that even if the emission is not absolutely at zero, it is at its lowest level.
Bergthorson, Jeffrey M. and Murray J. Thomson. "A review of the combustion and emission properties of advanced transportation biofuels and their impact on existing and guture engines." Elsevier Ltd (2014).
Contestabile, Marcello, Gregory Offer and Robin North. "Electric Vehicles: A synthesis of the current literature with a focus on economic and environmental viability." LCAworks (2012).
Ing, Adam. "Public acceptance of electric vehicles in Toronto." International Society for the Systems Sciences (n.d.).
Kihm, Alexander and Trommer Stefan. "The new car market for electric vehicles and the potential for fuel substitution." Elsevier Ltd (2014).
Liaquat, A. M., et al. "Potential emissions reduction in road transport sector using biofuel in developing countries." Elsevier Ltd (2010).
Xue, Jinlin, Tony E. Grift and Alan C. Hansen. "Effect of biodiesel on engine performances and emissions." Elsevier Ltd (2011).
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