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Cars: Fuels of the new Millenium

Fernandez, Eunice C. S16 Gawchinco, Tiffany Loyce K. S16 Laconico, Kenneth Kristian P. S16 Nery, Joseph S. S16 Yang, Don Mckinley S16 De La Salle University - Manila College of Computer Studies Information Technology Department
ABSTRACT The main focus of this paper is to discuss the car manufacturing industry. “What keeps car manufacturers to continue producing non-gas cars in spite of the availability of alternative fuels?” will be the main topic to be answered in this paper through research and evaluation. The advantages, disadvantages, statistics and factors that affect the car manufacturing industry will be shown and compared. Since there is minimal information of the Philippine car industry, the paper will focus on the U.S. car manufacturing industry. Different alternatives to gasoline cars will be discussed with regard to cost and benefits. The information gathered will be used in order to come up with the best alternative fuel for future manufacturing of innovative cars. 1. INTRODUCTION TechTarget (2007) defines the automotive industry as “companies that manufacture and/or distribute vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, locomotives, motorcycles, commercial ships, pleasure boats, and/or recreational vehicles.” According to the industry report provided by IBISWorld (2009), “demand for vehicle type is influenced greatly by movements in petrol prices.” This caused the car manufacturers to divert their attention to developing petrol-electric hybrid cars. IBISWorld also claims that companies in the industry that manufacture cars are called automakers that produce cars in assembly plants. “The manufacturing of light trucks such as vans, pick-ups and SUVs, heavy trucks and motorcycles are not included in this industry.” 2. DIESEL CARS Portland Biodiesel Co-op states the fact that, “According to one auto parts catalog, from 1960 to 2002, over 25 Manufacturers have made at least 236 different passenger vehicle models with diesel engines.” Based on the graph provided, it shows that during the early 1980s, there was a boost in the manufacturing of diesel cars in the U.S. Oil crisis during the earlier years was the one of the factors that affected the boost in diesel car manufacturing industry. The decline of the sales of diesel cars was affected by the decline of gas prices.

In the US, the 1980s were very good years for diesel passenger vehicles. Source: 2002 Mighty parts database.

3. ALTERNATIVE FUELS 3.1 Ethanol Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative fuel that is made by fermenting and distilling crops such as corn, barley or wheat. Ethanol can be blended with gasoline to increase octane levels and improve emissions quality. 3.2 Natural Gas Natural gas is an alternative fuel that burns clean and is already widely available to people in many countries through utilities that provide natural gas to homes and businesses. When used in natural gas vehicles cars and trucks with specially designed engines natural gas produces far fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel. 3.3 Electricity Electricity can be used as a transportation alternative fuel for battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles. Battery powered electric vehicles store power in batteries that are recharged by plugging the vehicle into a regular electrical source. Fuel-cell vehicles run on electricity that is produced through an electrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined. Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion or pollution. 3.4 Hydrogen Hydrogen can be mixed with natural gas to create an alternative fuel for vehicles that use certain types of internal combustion engines. Hydrogen is also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the petrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the fuel “stack.” 3.5 Propane Propane also called liquefied petroleum gas or LPG is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Already widely used as a fuel for cooking and heating, propane is also a popular alternative fuel for vehicles. Propane produces fewer emissions than gasoline, and there is also a highly developed infrastructure for propane transport, storage and distribution.

Hydrogen is also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the petrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in the fuel “stack.” 3.6 Biodiesel Biodiesel is an alternative fuel based on vegetable oils or animal fats, even those recycled after restaurants have used them for cooking. Vehicle engines can be converted to burn biodiesel in its pure form, and biodiesel can also be blended with petroleum diesel and used in unmodified engines. Biodiesel is safe, biodegradable, reduces air pollutants associated with vehicle emissions, such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. 3.7 Methanol Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, can be used as an alternative fuel in flexible fuel vehicles that are designed to run on M85, a blend of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline, but automakers are no longer manufacturing methanol-powered vehicles. Methanol could become an important alternative fuel in the future, however, as a source of the hydrogen needed to power fuel-cell vehicles.

3.8 P-Series P-Series fuels are a mix of ethanol, natural gas liquids and methyltetrahydrofuran (MeTHF), a co-solvent derived from biomass. P-Series fuels are clear, highoctane alternative fuels that can be used in flexible fuel vehicles. P-Series fuels can be used alone or mixed with gasoline in any ratio by simply adding it to the tank.

3.8.1 Pros • clean and relatively low-cost alternatives to gasoline

It produces lower carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions lower levels of hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions. One gallon of pure ethanol contains about 66 percent as much energy as a gallon of gasoline

3.8.2 Cons

Creating plant-based bio fuels requires too much farmland to be practical or sustainable— land that would be better used to grow food Producing ethanol and other bio fuels takes more energy than the fuel can generate Replacing only five percent of the nation’s diesel consumption with biodiesel would require diverting approximately 60 percent of today’s soy crops to biodiesel production

4.3 Does Producing Bio fuels Use More Energy than They Can Generate? Another dark cloud looming over bio fuels is whether producing them actually requires more energy than they can generate. After factoring in the energy needed to grow crops and then convert them into bio fuels, Cornell University researcher David Pimental concludes that the numbers just don’t add up. His 2005 study found that producing ethanol from corn required 29 percent more energy than the end product itself is capable of generating. He found similarly troubling numbers in making biodiesel from soybeans. “There is just no energy benefit to using plant biomass for liquid fuel,” Pimentel says. 4.4 Conservation is a Key Strategy for Reducing Dependence on Fossil Fuels There is no one quick-fix for weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels and the future will likely see a combination of sources--from wind and ocean currents to hydrogen, solar and, yes, some use of bio fuels--powering our energy needs. The “elephant in the living room” that is often ignored when considering energy options, however, is the hard reality that we must reduce our consumption, not just replace it with something else. Indeed, conservation is probably the largest single “alternative fuel” available to us. 5. MANUFACTURERS 5.1 Hydrogen 5.1.1 Fiberforge One of the earliest hydrogen powered concept cars was called the Revolution, manufactured by Fiberforge, they are formerly known as Hypercar, Inc. Though the experiment stalled in the hydrogen fuel cell phase, what came out of the experiment was a method of producing ultra-lightweight automobiles using carbon composites. Fiberforge soon realized that if the hydrogen powered cars of the future were to be successful, then cutting down on the weight of cars would be essential for delivering better fuel mileage while retaining safety standards. 5.1.2 DaimlerChrysler DaimlerChrysler, who owns Mercedes, also announced the production of a fleet of Mercedes-Benz A-Class hydrogen powered cars in the U.S. and Europe. The Mercedes F-Cell cars get their power from compressed hydrogen.

4. ISSUES 4.1 Bio fuels are Easy to Use, but Not Always Easy to Find And unlike other forms of renewable energy (like hydrogen, solar or wind), bio fuels are easy for people and businesses to transition to without special apparatus or a change in vehicle or home heating infrastructure— you can just fill your existing car, truck or home oil tank with it. Those looking to replace gasoline with ethanol in their car, however, must have a “flex-fuel” model that can run on either fuel. Otherwise, most regular diesel engines can handle biodiesel as readily as regular diesel. Despite the upsides, however, experts point out that bio fuels are far from a cure for our addiction to petroleum. A wholesale societal shift from gasoline to bio fuels, given the number of gas-only cars already on the road and the lack of ethanol or biodiesel pumps at existing filling stations, would take some time. 4.2 Are There Enough Farms and Crops to Support a Switch to Bio fuels? Another major hurdle for widespread adoption of bio fuels is the challenge of growing enough crops to meet demand, something skeptics say might well require converting just about all of the world’s remaining forests and open spaces over to agricultural land. “Replacing only five percent of the nation’s diesel consumption with biodiesel would require diverting approximately 60 percent of today’s soy crops to biodiesel production,” says Matthew Brown, an energy consultant and former energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “That’s bad news for tofu lovers.”

Mercedes has also brought forth the F600 Hygenius Concept Car, which is powered by fuel cell and like hybrid vehicles, uses regenerative braking to recapture energy and recharge the batteries. 5.1.3 Honda Honda has also developed its own hydrogen powered car and has said its cars are certified by the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency and out-distances the Mercedes cars claiming its fuel cell cars can go 220 miles before needing refueling as opposed to the 90-mile per tank limit for the Mercedes. 5.1.3 Toyota

In fact over 50% of the cars sold in Brazil are flex-fuel cars that use pretty much any combination of ethanol and regular gasoline. Computerized sensors in the engines figure out the gas-ethanol combination currently in the car and get the engine to work accordingly. It is estimated that by 2008 90% of all cars sold in Brazil will be flex-fuel. Their great advantage over hybrid cars is that they don’t cost more than regular cars. Unlike the US, ethanol fuel is widely available at gas stations in Brazil. Many major auto companies sell flex-fuel vehicles in Brazil: Chevrolet (Astra, Corsa, Meriva, Montana), Citroen (C3), Fiat (Mille, Palio, Siena, Stilo), Ford (EcoSport, Fiesta), Peugot (206), Renault (Clio, Scenic), Volkswagen (Fox, Gol, Kombi). 5.3 Electric Cars

Toyota has showcased the FINE-S concept car with a hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid-electric power train which was built on the success of their gasoline / electric hybrid car, the Prius. BMW has unveiled what they are calling "The world's fastest hydrogen car" which they've named the HR2. 5.2 Ethanol Fuel 5.2.1 US Ethanol is blended into almost 50% of the U.S. fuel supply, mostly as E10 and E85. It is made from crops grown in America, primarily corn and milo. Today there are more than 110 ethanol plants across the country. Ethanol replaces gasoline that would require the use of 600,000 barrels of oil a day. Last year, the United States produced over 4.8 billion gallons of ethanol. The U.S. ethanol industry supported the creation of over 160,000 jobs in all sectors of the economy in 2005, boosting household income by $6.7 billion. Major auto manufacturers such as Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and GM make several vehicles which use ethanol. They are sometimes known as Flexible Fuel or "flex fuel" vehicles (FFV). As ethanol is not yet widely available in the US these cars and trucks are purchased mostly by large companies who have their own fueling stations. Ethanol could easily be made available to consumers at currently existing gas stations. In the US only about 700 of the nation's 170,000 gas stations offer E85. 5.2.2 Brazil Brazil has become a model country for the use of ethanol. They primarily use ethanol made from sugar cane processed into an alcohol form.

5.3.1 Tesla Motors Tesla Motors designs and sells high-performance; highly efficient electric sports cars with no compromises. Tesla Motors cars combine style, acceleration, and handling with advanced technologies that make them among the quickest and the most energy-efficient cars on the road. 5.3.2 Myers Motors LLC Myers Motors began with desire and vision. They desire to be passionate about something bigger than ourselves, and visions to positively impact people and the world. They desire to be more than just another business in a market, and visions to develop innovative products that are functional. They have a desire to be inspired, and visions to be a part of a movement. They desire to transform minds, and a vision to transform the world. 5.3.3 American Honda Motor Co Inc The Insight is the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle available in the U.S. It was designed from the ground up to achieve world-class fuel economy and ultra low emissions, using a combination of cutting-edge technologies, including an innovative hybrid power train, advanced aerodynamic design and lightweight aluminum body. The Insight earns the best EPA mileage ratings in history, rated at 61 mpg city/70 mpg highway. At the heart of the Insight is Honda's revolutionary Integrated Motor Assist (IMA?) system, which combines the world's lightest 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder gasoline automobile engine with an ultra-thin electric motor.

5.3.4 Chrysler LLC ENVI a special team within Chrysler was formed specifically to bring you the next generation of alternative drive trains as early as 2010 for North America. Soon fter European markets will also benefit from this innovative solution. ENVI has been hard at work developing technology that will deliver fuel-less Electric Vehicles and extremely fuel-efficient Rangeextended Electric Vehicles. And they re bringing it to you in a full-range of vehicle options from Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge

5.4 Biodiesel Biodiesel vehicles have always been the favorite of the DIY gas saver. Some diesel vehicles can run on biodiesel fuel with little to no modification. Like some of the other gasoline alternatives, finding a biodiesel filling station can be a little difficult. • • • • Mercedes-Benz 300 Series 300 TD Hummer H1 1995 AM Ford F-350 Mitsubishi Might Max 6. FURTHER STUDY It has been way back that we people are awakened by the fact of not having an endless supply of oil. One way or the other, Oil resource will be consumed until gone. Currently, countries have only been meeting up to 10% of our energy usage when it concerns the utilization of alternative energy when in fact; we are more capable of increasing it to a higher figure. Primary consumer of the oil resource is the vehicles that we are using today. Among all resource, oil proved to be the biggest source of power when it comes to our vehicles; it powers most if not all the vehicles in the road today. Studies and research has proved that hydrogen can be a source of fuel to vehicles of today. The availability of this resource is vast and what’s good in it is its recyclable however, the process of extracting hydrogen molecules from different natural resources such as water, biomass, coal and methane have proven to require electricity to function thus acquiring electric energy entails other resources as well and may end up using more than less. Moreover, recent innovations in technology make use of air as a source of fuel for vehicles. Tata Motors confirms air-car project. The firm is currently collaborating with French inventors to develop the said technology. The idea of the vehicle is that it uses compress air to run the engine of the car. It is however undergoing yet thorough research and the car that we perceived is yet a concept. For now, the present problem of finding alternative energy solutions to power our vehicles continues. The task is large, but it is certainly is achievable. 7. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION It is not surprising to learn that companies are producing cars that make use of some of the alternative

fuels to run their cars. It leads us to concluding that through the knowledge of the people of the truth that oil resources are limited and will come to a point where it is all used up, people were acting to find different alternative resources to be used as fuels and energy. The fact that there are numerous alternative energy sources today only proves that the issue of finding new sources of energy is taken seriously. It can be seen through the growth of the discoveries of finding new and newer sources as the years went on. The benefits of using these sources have been proven to be beneficial to the people; environmentally and economically. If we want a better and much comfortable life, people should look into the promising benefits of new innovations we have right now. As it has been for the past, these emerging technologies brought them good and brought us to where we are. In order for us to advance, we must face the future. 8. REFERENCES Alternative Fuels – Green Cars. (2008). Retrieved March 12, 2009. From New Wave Website: Electric Car Manufacturers in the World by Business Name. (2009). Retrieved March 12, 2009. From Momentum Technologies LLC. Website: /byB/mfg/byN/byName.shtml Ethanol. (2007). Retrieved March 12,2009. From Mary Land Grain Producers. Website: Hydrogen Powered Cars. (2009). Retrieved March 12, 2009. From Website: Modern Biodiesel Production Technologies. (2009). Retrieve March 11, 2009. From the Website: gclid=CNO6v9DpnZkCFQMcewodBkv2Bg The Pros and Cons of Bio fuels. (2009). Retrieve March 11, 2009. From Website: tm The Future of Alternative Energy for Cars. (2006). Retrieve March 11, 2009 From Articlesbase Website: