Methanol Fuel Produced from natural gas Similar toxicity to gasoline Less explosive, burns with an invisible flame Has been used as a fuel in Indy car and CART racing. Less expensive than Ethanol
Ethanol Fuel Produced from fermentation of corn and sugar cane Most regular engines can handle E-10, 10% ethanol Must be distilled to remove water and get high percentages of ethanol
Drawbacks E-100 is about 34% less efficient than similar gasoline based engines Requires energy to grow and distill
Advantages Does not contribute additional CO2 to the environment Burns cleaner than gasoline with additional oxygen source
Ethanol Is used in auto-racing, IRL will use E-100, starting this season.
Nitromethane Fuel additive that produces oxygen when burned Used in Drag racing, “nitro burning cars” Usually in a mixture with methanol Provide less energy but about 2.3 times the power of gasoline when burned in a given amount of oxygen.
Nitrous oxide Sometimes called NOS Provides oxygen to increase the efficacy of a gasoline burning engine.
Electricity 50% of electricity in the US formed from burning coal Process is only about 40% efficient
Hydropower Uses water from Dams to spin turbines Provides 9% of Us electricity, mostly in the western US. Most dam sites already dammed Can effect the natural environment Relatively clean energy and renewable
Tidal Power Uses large tidal flows to produce energy Largest in France, along the Rance River installed in 1967 About 80% efficient Requires large tidal flows and special geography
Nuclear Power Nuclear fission- heat from nuclear reaction used to produce steam. 20% of US energy from nuclear fission, about 100 power plants In the rest of the Western world it represent a larger percentage
Percentage of energy from Fission France76% UK27% Japan36% Germany 28%
Advantages Relatively clean energy No greenhouse emissions
Disadvantages Hazardous waste is produced Danger of a release of radioactive particles into the environment
Two types of Fission plants Breeder reactors Convert U-238 is converted to Pu-239 which is fissable However, Pu-239 is low melting so this must be controlled at lower temps. No breeder reactors in US but are used in France and other countries
Wind Power Estimated 1-3% of solar energy converted to wind Use wind to drive a turbine US third behind Germany and Spain in wind energy produced Requires a large capital investment
Disadvantages Intermittent Onshore not the best looking Can be harmful to birds, and noisy