This report, entitled ‘Alternative Transportation Fuels’, explores the different options that are available in replacing conventional transportation fuels in the near future, within Australia and the world. The conventional transportation fuels in question are petrol, diesel, and liquid petroleum gas, while the alternative fuels explored include ethanol, methanol, hydrogen and fuel cells, biodiesel, and dimethyl ether.
The report contains several sections, with section 1 providing an introduction on the current global situation regarding transportation fuels, the reasoning for the development of this report, and the scope covered by the report. Sections 2 and 3 encompass the conventional and alternative fuels respectively, with each fuel explored in detail and containing information on the production, supply and availability, safety and regulations, engine and technological requirements, performance and efficiency, environmental effects, an overview of background information, and a summary of the information.
Section 4 includes the conclusion and recommendations of the report based on the information examined in sections 2 and 3. It covers fuel comparisons, recommendations, and possible further research. The comparisons made between the fuels are on environmental impacts, energy consumption, costs, sustainability, and probable public opinions of the fuels. The recommendations were then made on the basis of these comparisons, for both the short-term future and long-term future. The further research segment provides a short summary on fuels that were not included in this report for various reasons discussed.
The findings of this report for the short-term future conclude that; dimethyl ether proves to be the most favourable alternative fuel for replacing conventional diesel fuels, while an increase in liquid petroleum gas usage would provide the best alternative to petrol fuel. This is due to both fuels having better well-to-wheel environmental impacts, cheaper production costs relative to vehicular fuel economy, and most importantly, greater short-term sustainability at a satisfactory rate of production, when compared to other alternative fuels.
For the long-term future; it is found that using current technologies, no fuel will be able to meet current rates of demand on a sustainable level. However, if further developments are made, 2 possible scenarios are predicted to be most likely to occur. If yield-to-land area ratios are improved for biomass fuel production processes, then dimethyl ether would be the most satisfactory fuel for similar reasons to those in the short-term recommendations. The second case involves the improvement of hydrogen electrolysis method efficiencies, where if large enough hydrogen yields were obtained using energy produced from solar or nuclear sources, hydrogen would be the ultimate, pollution-free, sustainable fuel.