With gasoline prices as high as they are and many analysts predicting they will reach the $5 per gallon mark in the not too distant future, people are beginning to turn more and more to alternative fuels. Hybrids, electric vehicles and solar-powered vehicles may be a hot ticket item now, but what about all the other alternative fuels out there?
We know about corn-based ethanol, however, that has become a heated subject with foodies, environmentalists and the general public alike, especially since U.S. farmers are beginning to grow genetically modified corn solely for ethanol production. This has sparked concerns about cross-contamination and aid organizations are already warning that having farmers produce corn for fuel instead of food, could severely impact global food supplies.
So, what other options are available? Well, let’s take a look at some of the oddly edible gasoline, diesel and other fuel alternatives which could eventually make it into the mainstream market:
Farmers, automakers and airlines had at one point been looking into the possibility of biodiesel made from the fruit of a jatropha tree. Countries like China, India and Brazil have already been tapping into the alternative fuel advantages of the jatropha tree. We’ll have to see if this little fruit can make a stand in the alternative fuel arena.
How about taking your morning cup o’ joe and turning those coffee grounds into a biodiesel which could get you to work. Although coffee ground biodiesel will probably never be used as a major fuel alternative, as long it is used coffee grounds they are talking about, this one could be a cool alternative fuel option.
The idea behind this eco-race car is extremely innovative. Not only does the race car use a biofuel made partially of chocolate (sorry all you chocolate lovers out there), but parts of the car itself are made from vegetables. That’s right, vegetables. Carrots went into the making of the steering wheel and potato starch and flax seed were used in the production of the mirrors and front wing.
Here’s a green, well actually yellow, fuel made from banana waste. In this example researchers figured out a way to turn banana skins into briquettes that could be used for cooking, heating and to produce light. Can you imagine firing up the BBQ with banana briquettes?
Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention beer waste energy. Instead of breweries trying to sell or get rid of their spent grain, why not turn it into energy to help power their own plants? It worked for China and Thailand with their rice and sugar cane, so why not for the beer industry? Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is already tapping into their beer waste in addition to using fuel cells to help power their buildings and the beer-making process.
Here’s one I thought was a very odd choice for an alternative fuel…rabbits. In Sweden, due to the over population of rabbits, combined with laws against the disposal of raw meat or carcasses, one company began using rabbits to produce the fuel needed to heat homes. But it wasn’t just rabbits, they used reindeer, pigs, horses, cows and other animals.
Unfortunately turkeys have recently managed to find their way onto the alternative fuel chopping block as well, with turkey parts being used to make biodiesel. One particular company set up shop right next to a company who raises and slaughters turkeys for food. This way they are able to capitalize on the turkey “leftovers” as a key component to their biofuel.
Since we’re on the subject, another animal-derived biodiesel which has recently surfaced is alligator fat biodiesel. Not surprisingly, this one comes from researchers in Louisiana. Every year over 15 million pounds of alligator fat (wow, what a figure) is dumped into landfills. I guess when you look at it that way, it’s better to use the fat as fuel than let it go to waste. Of course, who knew there was such a demand for alligator meat?
Last but not least on my list is a plan which surfaced in the United Kingdom to use oil from stale pastries, pies and crisps to fuel cars. Now, I knew Cornish pastries were popular in the UK, but that’s a lot of good pastry going to waste if a whole new eco-friendly fuel can be generated.
Of course, if you aren’t quite ready to switch your car over to one of these alternative fuels, you can always check out Biofriendly Corporation’s Green Plus® gasoline fuel saver which is proven to reduce emissions, improve engine power and increase fuel economy.
But keep in mind, the next time you munch on a piece of fruit, snack on a baked good, or sip on your favorite beverage, you may just be looking at the next oddly edible gasoline, diesel or other fuel alternative. I mean if alternative fuels are going to become part of a worldwide change, a variety of options must be available so we don’t exhaust any one resource.