What Vehicles Are the Most Green?
Are you aware of what vehicles are the most green?
With no sign of our reliance on the car as a transportation choice waning, the race is on to find new technology
to replace the polluting petrol and diesel driven vehicles in our cities.
As the source of these fuels begins to be exhausted, the drive is to open wilderness and oceans to exploration
raising the cost of recovery and the risk of environmental disaster.
The current working alternatives are biodiesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), ethanol, electric power, and
hydrogen and hybrid combinations of two or more of these fuels. Some newer technologies has also enabled people to
run cars on water with
The problem with most of these is that they have environmental side issues that aren't always apparent at first
CNG is rapidly becoming exhausted and has the associated pollution problems of carbon based
Biodiesel and ethanol are cleaner burning options and the technology is tried and tested for decades to the
point where it is efficient and increasingly available.
The downside is that the investment in corn production, to produce ethanol in particular, may see farming land
removed from growing food. The impact on supplies of corn for animal feed has already seen rises in beef and
Large scale plants in Europe using soybeans to produce biodiesel are taking product from third world food
supplies and creating demand for more and more deforestation in such countries.
This is hardly the green result we should be aiming for in the future!
Electric vehicles are certainly green to operate with no pollution in operation and noiseless as well. Again
this technology has been around for decades and rapid improvements in battery systems make this increasingly more
viable for short trip travel needs.
Of course this is only a truly green choice if the electricity is generated by non-polluting and renewable
energy plants. These batteries are however a potential hazard to the environment when they are disposed, and use
large amounts of energy in production.
Progress in chemical battery design using lithium-ion technology is already developed to the stage where
production cars are available at a cost.
Like all technology the prototypes are expensive but as more and more demand for these comes then
production costs will go down. The benefit to the environment is that the latest batteries have no heavy metals or
toxic environmental impact. Certainly a much better option than burning gallons of fossil fuels!
As a side issue to the above super capacitor research [devices capable of storing energy like batteries but
without the short life of a battery] may produce breakthroughs in vehicle power as a large amount of research
continues in this field.
Hydrogen has the best press as a green energy alternative, as the only by product is water! There are problems
though as to get hydrogen you need energy and lots of it in the process of electrolysis to extract it from
As new technology, this will also benefit from the research that is underway but there is no infrastructure for
the distribution of this fuel in any country at present.
So after considering all the alternatives no clear winner emerges except perhaps for hybrid cars using a
combination of electrical and biodiesel from renewable energy sources. But the question often lies in whether hybrid cars are worth the investment.
These are certainly less polluting than any of the fossil fuel choices.
There is development in plant research that shows quick growing grasses may be a better source of biodiesel and
as new batteries are developed the problems with disposal and toxins may be solved. The greenest alternatives are
of course less palatable.
Walking, public transport and even carpooling continue to be options chosen when difficulties in parking
vehicles are the limiting factor to their use!
If you'd like to do your part for the environment and save some money at the same time, why not build your own
solar power panels? It's easy: