There are many reasons to have an electric or hybrid car, but as we are now closer to being able to grow petrol, the argument that fuel costs will continue to rise is increasingly a weak argument
For some time now we have produced bio-diesel, but increasingly it has become a forest vs. bio-fuel problem as the ideal places to grow the necessary crops, commonly beats and sugar related, are also the places that are covered in rain forest, on the equator. In the case of petrol crops, they grow almost anywhere
Last week’s announcement from UCLA that they had successfully run petrol engines on fuels that they had grown was never going to be greeted with the fanfare that it maybe should have been as the West grappled with the extraordinary issues that are unfolding in Ukraine. On a normal day, the news channels would have realised that the world changed that day, some would say for the better, as the dependency on fuel supplies from increasingly unstable regions is further reduced
This new fuel burns cleaner than oil derived petrol and in fact negates the need for catalytic converters in many cases. A complete rethink on emissions and company cars will be required as for many years we will have a three tier system where some company cars are running on petrol/diesel, some on ethanol/green petrol and some on electricity. Although green petrol will still produce CO and CO2 in the combustion process, CO can be handled with catalysts and CO2 will be absorbed by the very plants that are producing the fuels. Without any doubt, recycling of fuels has never been achieved before
An additional method is also being trialled in the US. In a process known as Oxygen stripping, a process that takes a sugar and creates something akin to petrol. Interestingly this process can be used to process crop and forest waste, of which at least a billion tonnes gets buried in land-fill in the US each year. With present efficiency of production, they could produce nearly 50% of the US petrol use.
As an aside, green petrol is as volatile as petrol, petroleum gas can be used to run most things that need natural gas, methane, where the process is safe and away from the public. We can in this way reduce our reliance on Russian sourced natural gas and maybe even cover our own demand with the fracking process.