Alternative Fuels - Pros and Cons

Alternative Fuels

This day in age, one of the world’s main concerns is energy. Currently, we rely on petroleum to run our cars, and household central heat, and electricity in our homes. Petroleum is not only limited, but it is also dirtying up the world’s air, and depleting the ozone layer as it is burned. Alternative fuels are one of the worlds most talked about issues, and many solutions have been brought forth, yet none of them have been sophisticatedly acted upon. Through the list of pros and cons, one shall determine the importance of alternative fuels, and how bad the pros outweigh the cons, thus forcing the reality of the matter that we need to start moving towards these alternate forms of energy, and fuel. Despite the minor faults in using alternative fuels, the pros are very evident, and exploration of this matter should definitely be a factor in the studies of scientists.

Solar energy is described as harnessing the sun’s rays in a number of different ways. Solar energy is said to be very clean, quite safe and obviously free. The main method of capturing the sun’s energy is through cells in solar panels, or pads. This energy is then converted to a direct current type of energy, the same as what is used in batteries. Solar power may be found on certain cars, some homes, and on RV’s. (Richard P. Turco, Carl Sagan, 2002)

Most people use it on their cars, as a trickle charger for their batteries, so that if they leave a small accessory on in their car, they will not return to a dead battery, and no way home. Solar energy lacks the need for waste disposal, as it does not produce any harmful by products, or emit dangerous fumes, or liquids. The problem with these solar energy panels is that they often break down, and they do not function properly many times. They are also very high in cost, and require much maintenance. When used in a residential setting, in order to receive high output by these panels, there needs to be a large amount of panels. These panels are normally sold in eight by four rectangles, and to have enough to power your house, the average household would need ten thousand square feet of panels. This would be quite a chunk out of one’s pocket book, ranging in very high prices. (De Romana, Carlos, 2004).

Another non-depleting energy vein that we are able to tap into is wind. Wind power is generated when large, slow moving wind turbines are spun with the wind, thus causing a coil inside to generate electricity. These are seen throughout the Great Plains, and many other flats. These are generally not powerful enough, unless they are built in large numbers. Many times, around two hundred are built in one area, to produce for the nearest city or town.

Although these do produce some good, usable energy, as with all things, they have some problems. Wind does not always blow, and when the wind stops, so does the energy. Sun is not always shining, for solar energy, but they have cells to store energy for nightfall. Wind Turbines are also a big concern for birds. Migrating or locals, flying birds of all kinds are in danger from a twenty-food diameter of spinning death. This has been a concern of PETA and other animal protection agencies.

Another type of fuel is Biofuel. This type of energy is produced through different types of wastes. Potato peels, whey, turkey guts, and frying oil are all types of wastes that can be converted into biofuel. This is a relatively new scientific breakthrough in the hunt for a more efficient energy source. The good thing about using biofuel is that it is clean, and can get rid of our wastes, while benefiting us. Acid rain, caused by modern petroleum engines, would be non existent when biofuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of acid rain. (Robert Q. Riley, Wroshik Chee, 2003)

Many people have already started doing this and have found a source of pre-biofuel. They buy converters for their diesel engines for about one thousand dollars, and run it off of used grease from restaurants. This serves as a benefit for both the customer, and the restaurant owner, in that the customer gets free biofuel, while the restaurant owner gets free disposal of the grease.

Many restaurants pay annually for this service, and continue to pay it through the years. Now, with the future of petroleum engines, the restaurants won’t have to pay for this service. They now may be able to charge for it if the demand gets to a high enough level, which does not seem unfeasible if a city of sixteen thousand is looking for the fuel when their city only has thirty restaurants. This method seems perfect, but there is a major flaw. When burning biofuel instead of petroleum, the driving distances are greatly reduced. (De Romana, Carlos, 2004)

Dams are another major source of power. The Hoover Dam is a big source of energy for surrounding areas. Hydroelectric power is produced by very large turbines, which are spun by the immense water pressure leaving the blockaded portion of the river. This invention is ingenious, in that the rivers are a virtually never-ending source. These dams also produce another complaint by animal rights activists, because migratory fish are unable to swim up-river. This causes many deaths in the salmon family. (Yvonne Jeffery, Liz Barclay, Michael Grosvenor, 2008)

There are very many opportunities to put Mother Nature to work for us, in order to replace our current harmful technologies of energy. The human race was not put on Earth to destroy it, but merely to exist and prosper. This we will find is not as easy as it sounds, but we could start on it by pursuing the alternate energy forms. We already have the outline and the rough draft, all we need is the final copy. If we could get these pros and cons out to the public, there may be a good chance that we will be seeing more of these alternate fuel sources in the near future.

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Comments 23 comments

nancydodds1 profile image

nancydodds1 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

Its very impressive and nice information about pros and cons. You can check out my hub related to mortgage calculator.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Very good article. Though a regular sized home would not need 10,000 square feet. That would be larger than most homes. We know several people who have solar panels for their homes and to power their home they don't need near that much.

Keep up the good hubs. I'm enjoying them.


Tovontec@yahoo.com 8 years ago

i love u


sophieqd profile image

sophieqd 7 years ago

Alternative Fuels Pros and Cons

excellent hub, thaks for sharing this information and advice.


EcoAsh profile image

EcoAsh 7 years ago from Hemet

Great info. Evetually the pros will outweigh the cons.


D-Fuel 7 years ago

Very good article. One practicable possibility for Alternative Fuels is shown with Alternative Fuels in the Cement industry:

The cement Industry is operating cement Plants with a capacity of more then 1 billion tons of Clinker production all over the world. The rapidly increasing cement market in China is calculated with an additional 1 billion tons of production capacity.

The use of Alternative Fuels, or refused derived fuels, consisting of biomass derived fuels like wood chips, olive kernel, rice husks and high calorific value fractions from Municipal Solid wastes and Industrial wastes is common practice in many cement Plants especially in Europe.

The German Cement Industry was substituting in the last year almost 60% of their heat demand by Alternative Fuels and was saving around 1 mio. Tons of coal. The positive environmental impact is besides a tremendous fossil CO² emission saving, the environmental friendly use of wastes.

In most of the developing countries- and even in well developed countries- there are no legal definitions for the co incineration of wastes. Even within Europe are different regulations for the use of RDF in the Cement Industry. There is no legal definition of the term ‘Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF)’ and it is interpreted differently across countries.

Refuse derived Fuels (RDF) is a general term for municipal solid and commercial wastes and in English speaking countries, RDF usually refers to the segregated high calorific fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial or industrial process wastes. Other terms are also used for MSW derived fuels such as

• Recovered Fuel (REF)

• Packaging Derived Fuels (PDF)

• Paper and Plastic Fraction (PPF)

• Process Engineered Fuel (PEF).

REF, PDF, PPF and PEF usually refer to a source-separated, processed, dry combustible MSW fraction (e.g. plastics and/or paper) which are too contaminated to be recycled. The terms ‘Secondary Fuel, Substitute Fuel and Substitute Liquid Fuel (SLF)’ are used for processed industrial wastes which may be homogeneous or mixed to specification.

Examples of these fuels include

• waste tyres

• waste oils

• spent solvents

• bone meal

• animal fats

• sewage Sludge

• Industrial sludge (e.g. paint sludge and paper sludge).

These terms can also refer to non-hazardous packaging or other residues from industrial/trade sources (e.g. plastic, paper and textiles), biomass (e.g. waste wood and sawdust), demolition waste or shredded combustible residues from scrap cars. Waste materials can be used as alternative fuels provided that they do not contain harmful substances. In particular the presence of PCBs, chlorine, sulphur and heavy metals is either specifically precluded, or limited, in line with state or local regulations. For instance the use of wastes in incineration processes in Germany is controlled by specific requirements of the German Federal Emission Protection Law. Therefore, alternative fuels are only used in cement plants if their composition is in compliance with the relevant regulations.

Waste Management Companies in Germany using the possibility to turn waste into fuels since many years. In other countries such concepts are not well developed resulting by a lack of experience in both sides- waste management companies and cement Plants. The segregation of high calorific value fractions from Municipal Solid Wastes and Industrial wastes will have an “added value” for waste management companies.

But- how to implement “Alternative Fuels”, or better “refuse derived fuels” made from waste in a cement plant?

MVW Lechtenberg has developed a 3-stage plan, which allows the waste management companies to be on the safe side while starting up the production of RDF. This concept is already successfully implemented in various countries such as Australia, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, India and others. For turnkey project implementation, the company works on the following three phases:

Phase I

• Verification and classification of existing wastes types available at source,

• Suitability of available wastes as RDF,

• Quality requirements of secondary fuels,

• Impact of RDF utilization on cement production process,

• Impact on air quality (emissions),

• Project capital investment cost evaluation and return on investment.

In this article we focus only on the basics of Phase I, but will give a short overview about the following working stages:

Phase II

• MVW will support the waste management company in equipment choice, requisition and equipment verification.

• Support in a contractual agreement with local cement plants

• Development of “Turnkey-Project” incl. engineering and sketch drawings for imported and local manufactured items.

Phase III

• support in the successful implementation of the secondary fuel project incl. ongoing monitoring / quality management

Waste resources

There are three groups of waste, which might be burned:

a) Solid waste

b) Liquid waste

c) Pasty waste

The chemical composition of the wastes, content of Cl, S, Ca, Si, Al, Fe and heavy metals, and their calorific values are of primary interest for the replacement of fossil fuels. The calorific values should be as high as possible for the heat input of the cement production process. The chemical composition (Cl, S, heavy metals) must be compatible with the cement. The grain size must be as small as necessary for complete burn out.

Table: Municipal Solid Waste composition in a North African Country

Table: Municipal Solid Waste - Composition in a European country

The selection of rich calorific valuable residual materials and the processing of household- and commercial - refuse to rich calorific valuable substitute fuels naturally depend upon with permit has given to each individual Cement plant.

The following questions concerning the waste fuel are important:

• Which residual are used and out of which process do the waste materials come from?

• Which pollutants does the waste contain?

• the data of the used waste (calorific value, water content, heavy metals, chlorine content, PCB, etc.).

• is the statements reliability durably guaranteed?

• is a constant quality within a certain spectrum possible?

• What are the expected emissions (PCB, Dioxin/Furan, heavy metals)?

From the Solid wastes, the following fractions are of interest for replacement of fossil fuels:

-plastics (bottles, drums, barrels, film, etc.)

-paper

-wood (chips, sawdust)

-tires

-rubber

-organic contaminated soils

A detailed analyzes of these wastes and ash contents are obligatory required as base for further calculations on effects on cement clinker quality, process and emissions.

Pict. Waste from Automotive Industry: take care of fire retardant substances

Processing of wastes

A general processing standard cannot be used for all types of wastes. Depending on the different waste types, feeding systems and kiln requirements, a basic Layout according to the requirements has to be developed.

Especially for Municipal Solid Wastes, MSW (either from poor or rich countries) a presorting and classification of the high calorific value fraction will be needed. Selection of usable waste fractions by MVW Lechtenberg`s CINDERELLA © principle will assure, that only wastes are feed into the system within the requirements.

A typical further processing Layout which MVW Lechtenberg has developed in many projects is as follows:

Preselected and presorted waste materials are feed by a wheel loader into the system. A first (Primary) shredder is producing a defined grain size of < 150mm. With a magnetic separator the ferrous materials are separated. An Air classifier separates the foreign parts (e.g. stones, non ferrous metals) and feeds the material into the final shredder. Depending on the Cement Kiln requirements, a defined grain size needs to be produced. Depending on the firing system, a further classification on 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional parts is needed.

Economics

Under the precondition, that the produced RDF has a continuous high quality without the presence of


sharpshooter2124@aim.com 7 years ago

awesome article ,keep up the good job!!!!!!!!!!


madfox23 7 years ago

great info yu just keep outdoing yourselves keep writing


madfox23 7 years ago

great info yu just keep outdoing yourselves keep writing


madfox23 7 years ago

great info yu just keep outdoing yourselves keep writing


madfox23 7 years ago

great info yu just keep outdoing yourselves keep writing


csprigg 6 years ago from Las Vegas

Great hub, but I think that it just may be a little long.


bob 6 years ago

good job


lumen2light profile image

lumen2light 6 years ago from Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Very nice hub, full of good info. One thing to point out as far as the fish and dams, there are a number of dams in the UK where they have provided a fish stream that zig-zags up the hill side allowing the fish to bypass the dam and turbines.


Emilyy 6 years ago

that's a lot- could you simplify it?


cbuzz 6 years ago

Solar

"The problem with these solar energy panels is that they often break down, and they do not function properly many times. They are also very high in cost, and require much maintenance. When used in a residential setting, in order to receive high output by these panels, there needs to be a large amount of panels. These panels are normally sold in eight by four rectangles, and to have enough to power your house, the average household would need ten thousand square feet of panels. This would be quite a chunk out of one’s pocket book, ranging in very high prices."

Wow, do you work for an oil company? Most cities have metering which when you have any number of solar panels you can sell back the energy you produce to the electric company and if it's cloudy you use grid power instead of solar. So that eliminates the need for storage batteries. So if it's sunny your meter runs backward and if it's cloudy you use grid power. Duh! We could cut our oil consumption greatly just by putting ONE solar panel on all houses in America and metering back to the electric companies.

I have a friend who put 8 panels on the roof of her 3000 sq. ft. home, just "8 PANELS" and her electric bill was $15.00 last month! Yes the panels do cost more but there are tax breaks and incentives now so you only end up paying 20% of the cost. GET INFORMED!

The cost of solar would go down if the government and citizens got behind alternatives instead of putting out propaganda like this article.

Wind

"Wind does not always blow, and when the wind stops, so does the energy. Sun is not always shining, for solar energy, but they have cells to store energy for nightfall. Wind Turbines are also a big concern for birds. Migrating or locals, flying birds of all kinds are in danger from a twenty-food diameter of spinning death. This has been a concern of PETA and other animal protection agencies."

Again, metering to the electric company allows you to NOT be off the grid entirely. You just supplement your usage with alternative sources.

There are wind turbines that are ALREADY available that DO NOT endanger wildlife since they don't use blades but collect wind by other means.

So before you put out an article like this that is supposedly in favor of alternatives but in fact blasts the methods you say you want to promote, how about getting your facts straight. Try watching a program like "Living with Ed" that shows you how to reasonably use alternatives without having to be completely off grid.

Alternatives make sense and are a no brainer. Costs would go down if we demand that the government begin promoting them instead of oil and educating the public about how to use alternatives.


Ann Lee profile image

Ann Lee 6 years ago

Good info. Thanks.


Sara Algoe profile image

Sara Algoe 6 years ago from Phoenix, Ariz Author

Thanks for posting comments every one ..!!


Haris Amin profile image

Haris Amin 6 years ago from Mars

Its better to have an alternative fuel with cons than BP with their oil spill.


kelly 6 years ago

what are the pros and cons of nuclear fuel sources


arthur 5 years ago

what are the pros and cons of geothermal power and energy


PIE 5 years ago

Give some info on plastic fuel.....


annonymous 4 years ago

what are the pros and cons of petrol for electricity

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