Alternative Fuels

Vehicles have come a long way from the Model T in the early 1900s. Each year the car industry comes out with new styles and incorporates new technologies. In recent history, the automotive world has shifted its focus to fuel efficiency and the use of different fuel sources. As the world tries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, the global community is looking toward a future with a completely new type of car. There are already hybrid and electric cars on the roads today. What will the cars of the future run on? In this unit, you are going to do a little role-playing.

Welcome to YourTown, USA! YourTown is rethinking its strategy to encourage alternative fuel use. The city wants to develop a market and infrastructure to accelerate the number of citizens choosing alternative fuel vehicles. For this unit’s Discussion, you are going to be a citizen of YourTown. After conducting some research into different alternative fuels, you will vote for the one you believe will help guide the city in its efforts to support a better and cleaner future.

Use the following sources on alternative fuels to get started:

Use your research to complete the following three components to this unit’s discussion:

  1. Conduct research on at least three alternative fuels or alternative vehicles (i.e., electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel, or biodiesel) and post your findings, including the pros and cons of each fuel and/or vehicle type. Feel free to research alternative fuel or vehicle choices outside of the examples given. Support your writing with credible references.
  2. During the unit, you should interact with your classmates and debate how suitable you think these alternative fuel sources might be for the future of vehicle transportation and YourTown.
  3. Later in the unit week, make a post that contains your vote for which alternative fuel source you believe YourTown should create a station for. Be sure to give a clear explanation for your choice.

Be sure to review the Discussion Board Course Rubrics.

For help with citations, refer to the APA Quick Reference Guide.

Use this reference when referring to your text:

Trefil, J., & Hazen, R. M. (2016). The sciences: An integrated approach. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Unit 6

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Gretchen Jewell posted Dec 13, 2019 6:24 PM

The first alternative energy I would explore is ethanol. Ethanol is created from biomass or plant materials. Ethanol is typically blended with gasoline creating varied blends such as E10 and E85. E85 has up to 83% of ethanol and works in all vehicles labeled as flex fuel. The biomass that is used in ethanol production is grown. Some of the benefits include that it is domestically grown and it is renewable. Another benefit is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which, on average, are 34% less with corn based ethanol and up to 108% if cellulosic feedstocks are used, according to the US Department of Energy.

A second alternative is electric. Full electric and hybrid electric cars use batteries to store energy to power the vehicle. Hybrid vehicles use less gas and can achieve better fuel economy. Plug in stations for electric vehicles aren’t as readily available which can be a deterrent when deciding to purchase. Electric vehicles, however, produce zero tailpipe emissions according to the US Department of Energy.

A promising emissions free fuel alternative is hydrogen used in a fuel cell. Hydrogen is a relatively new industry and efforts are being made to create efficient and economical means of production. A vehicle with a hydrogen fuel cell is 2 to 3 times more efficient than an internal combustion engine according to the US Department of Energy


Electric Vehicle Benefits and Considerations. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2019, from

Ethanol Benefits and Considerations. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2019, from

Hydrogen Basics. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2019, from

Unit 6

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Calvin Walker posted Dec 12, 2019 11:30 PM

Good day all,

I have selected to look at Biodiesel, Ethanol, and natural gas. According to both sites visited “Biodiesel” is a renewable fuel that is safe and biodegradable. Although there is a note on the US Department of energy site that state not to use grease or vegetable oil this is converted being manufactured by using vegetable oils, animal fats, or grease normally found in restaurants.

Biodiesel being a great alternative fuel source has some pros and cons. For example, one advantage of Biodiesel is that it is renewable. It may be used in most diesel vehicles and has less pollutants meaning it is less or nontoxic. Disadvantages for biodiesel are that its very costly and can difficult to store and is not suitable for low temperature environments. Depending on the mixture, biodiesel has some compounds that crystallize due to very cold temperatures

Ethanol is also a renewable domestically made fuel alternative. It is made plant materials like corn, grass and sugar cane. The advantages are that it has lower emission of air pollutants and a gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline, resulting in lower fuel economy when operating your vehicle according to the US department of energy site. Some negatives are that ethanol has a relatively shorter store life compared to regular fuel. It has limited availability and lower gas mileage.

Natural gas is considered to be the cleanest burning alternative fuel. I can be used on both compressed gas and liquid form before it can be used in vehicles. The advantage of natural gas is that natural gas is also less harmful when compared to coal. It is half as much particulate emissions that can cause harmful health effects. The negatives are not much as it is the cleanest fossil fuel, but it can be less readily available than both gas and diesel. It also is highly combustible. The mis handling of this can cause explosions.



U.S. Department of Energy (n.d.) Alternate fuels data center. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.) Fuel economy. Retrieved from

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