A REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF ALTERNATIVE FUEL SOURCES
Environmental sensitivity, cost, safety, effectiveness, and reliability are the principle criteria involved in the adoption of energy sources. Problems related to environmental degradation, wildly fluctuating costs, and unreliability related to supply beset the fossil fuels that society depends upon most heavily for power needs (Lomberg, 2002). Such problems cause consumers, planners, and policy makers to seek alternative fuel sources. Problems related to cost, safety, and effectiveness tend to plague alternative fuels (Oliver & Hospers, 2001). A changing energy environment and technological advances, however, are improving the feasibility of adopting some alternative fuels (Oliver & Hospers, 2001).
Before reviewing alternative fuel sources, however, it is necessary to define the term. Using electricity to power automobiles, while a worthy endeavor for environmental protection, is not actually an alternative fuel because the generation of electricity occur generally through the burning of fossil fuels. The use of fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electrical power, however, does rely on an alternative fuel source.
Another issue related to the consideration of alternative fuel sources is the tendency to of consumers, planners, and policy makers to focus on fuels used in transportation. Without impinging on the importance of transportation in relation to alternative fuel sources, it is also important to recognize comparable energy needs for homes, offices, commercial activities, and industrial operations.
There are many alternative fuel sources, each of which has advantages and disadvantages, and each of which is more useful for some purposes than for other purposes. The following section of this paper presents a review and assessment of selected alternative fuel sources.
This review and assessment considers four alternative fuel sources. The four alternative...