What are some alternatives to fossil fuels?

1.solar energy
3.fuel cells
4. methanol
5. ethanol
6. biodiesel


Bio-Diesel is a kind of diesel fuel derived from vegetable oil and animal fat. It is an alkyl ester which is obtained by trans-esterification of vegetable oil using ethyl alcohol. It is often used in a blended form along with the normal diesel. So, currently it is mostly used as a diesel fuel additive. This blending of bio-diesel with normal diesel, reduces emission of pollutants. It has excellent lubrication properties. It is being widely introduced all around the world in every form of locomotive.


Alcohol derived from plant sources can be used as an effective alternative to fossil fuel. Ethanol, Butanol, Methanol and Propanol are the alcohols of interest which can be used as fuels. These four types of alcohol can be easily derived from biological sources. They have properties which make them useful as fuels in automobile engines. In fact, Butanol is very similar to gasoline and has a comparable energy density! Methanol and ethanol have high octane rates. Ethanol can be produced from sugar fermentation and is indeed widely produced around the world, now as an alternative fuel.


The properties of liquid Hydrogen, make it an ideal candidate for use as an alternative to fossil fuel. In normal conditions of temperature and pressure, molecular Hydrogen has a peaceful co-existence with oxygen and does not burn without input of extra energy. Hydrogen fuel cells have been developed which use molecular Hydrogen as an effective form of alternative fuel. The Hydrogen Fuel cell, convert chemical energy contained in a Hydrogen molecule, to electrical energy. The major advantage of Hydrogen as alternative fuel is, that its unit mass contains 2.8 times the energy contained in the same mass of gasoline. Hydrogen powered cars are already a reality but the problem lies in the cost of production. Until that cost is brought down, this technology is not commercially viable.

Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid Nitrogen based cars have been developed using nitrogen powered internal combustion engines. Regenerative braking technology, which stores the impulse generated through braking, uses liquid nitrogen as fuel. A liquid nitrogen car is much like an electric car in its circuitry, except that the batteries are replaced by liquid nitrogen fuel tanks.

Vegetable Oil

Diesel engines have been run on fuel which is a blend of processed vegetable oil and normal diesel. It has been tested as a fuel and is found to be an eco-friendly alternative.

These are some of the alternatives to fossil fuels, available currently. The list is short but certainly promising! In the future, more and more such alternatives will be made available, as the new promising technologies like hydrogen fuel cell and hybrid car technology is made more affordable. By promoting the use of these alternatives to fossil fuels, we can make our world a greener and a safer place to live!