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Hybrid Cars, Hydrogen Fuel, Ethanol – Comparison of these New Technologies for Automobiles

April 6th, 2006

Hybrid Cars, Hydrogen Fuel, Ethanol – Comparison of these New Technologies for Automobiles

Smart Fuel Cell A-50

With the price of gas on the rise and potential shortages this summer, not to mention the news reporting that the global warming is actually melting the ice in the arctic, you might be thinking about what other alternative fuels exist.

Hybrid cars are currently on the market today.  Hybrid cars are a combination of electric powered along with a gas power engine.  The hybrid car will switch from battery power and back to electric power during the drive as the car changes speed automatically. 

Ethanol fueled vehicles that are currently on the road have the ability to use regular gas or ethanol based fuel.  Ethanol is derived from usually corn.  Gas stations that offer ethanol based gas are most often found in the Midwest of the United States.  There is an effort by GM to expand the awareness and the ethanol pumps across the US.


Ethanol has a problem with being able to be inexpensively manufactured.  This could be overcome with the use of other plant materials.  There is interest in the use of wood chips treated with specific enzymes that would make it a better ‘cellulosic ethanol’.  If the automobiles were to run on 100 percent ethanol the automobile manufacturers would have to design a new engine to accommodate the change over.  It takes energy to process and make the ethanol, so it still has some issues.

Hydrogen Fuel is being explored for use in electric cars and also as a way to provide electricity for a home.  Hydrogen is one of the most common elements on earth.  The problem at this time with hydrogen fuel is the use of the expensive metal called platinum which is needed for the conversion process to make electricity.  Another problem is the delivery and safe storage of the highly volatile hydrogen gas which pose public safety problems.  The good part about hydrogen fuel is that the burn off from the exhaust is water and nothing else.  That would turn around the pollution problem really quick if the other problems can be solved.


According to an article on the clean-air.org website written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that hybrid cars and other improvements on current cars should be made first.  He believes that Hydrogen Fuel technology would not be put into action for another 10-20 years.  President Bush wants to spend $1 billion over the next five years to develop the hydrogen fuel technology.  Kennedy makes a point about how the hybrid technology can be implemented today to reduce needs for gas immediately and therefore reduce or needs for oil importing.  He also suggests that automobile manufacturers should make more fuel efficient cars by implementing more advanced transmissions, engine, and valve train technology.

Hybrid technology makes sense since hydrogen fuel is not likely to happen in the very near future.  The cost of gas still looms over our heads, and shortages also could start to show up too.  The hybrid car is a great vehicle option for saving on fuel and the environment.  As more family vehicles arrive on the market it will very likely catch on as this size of the vehicles have been one of the downfalls.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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Keywords and misspellings: hibrid car electric pryus acord hi-drogen hidrogen hydrogeun fule ethinol ethonol alternaitve gas vehicles

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