In order to operate, almost all vehicles need fuel as an energy source. Their use leads to high emissions of pollutants such as, for example, carbon dioxide (CO2).
In comparison, electricity does not pollute when it is being used.
We tend to forget that the fuel and electricity production phase generates pollution. This phase requires energy and thus fuel.
• Extraction, transportation and refining, in the case of fossil fuels from petroleum;
• Planting, harvesting and transportation in the case of biofuels;
• Electricity generation, depending on the power plant technology;
• Transportation and distribution of the fuel obtained.
Main fuels used in vehicles
Future of fuels?
Fossil fuels (petroleum, gas) are becoming increasingly difficult to produce. The easily exploitable sources of supply are diminishing rapidly. The scarcity of fuels is causing never ending price increases. Cheaper and more sustainable alternatives should be developed.
Biofuels are a possible alternative. But to actually be more eco-friendly, they must meet certain requirements.
The use of hydrogen is one of the solutions for the future. Hydrogen is unique in the sense that the only waste it produces is water. But at present, the problem lies in the difficulty of storing and producing this hydrogen. Solving this hydrogen storage problem shall probably be one of the most important technological and scientific challenges in the coming decades.
Information for professionals
Biofuels placed on the market in Belgium have to be registered in a database. In this way authorities (DG Environment of the FPS Health) can control their sustainability.
Link to database: www.product-declaration.be.