A clean energy vehicle, popularly known as green vehicle, is a motor vehicle that makes minimum harmful effects to the surrounding environment in comparison to conventional vehicles, which use either gasoline or diesel as fuel for their internal combustion engines. Clean energy vehicle technology focuses on bringing spectacular improvements in vehicle technologies with the intention of reducing the dependence of running vehicles on nonrenewable energy sources like oil and improving the fuel efficiency. The areas in which the technology concentrates are: bio-fuels, energy conversion, clean combustion, electrification of vehicles, advanced batteries, lightweight materials integration of vehicle grid and analysis of energy systems (“Clean vehicles”). The clean energy technology brings together the vehicle industry, laboratories and the academia to pool the best intellectual strength in the fields of engineering and natural and social sciences for finding sustainable vehicle solutions. Since the clean energy sources are renewable and less-polluting, and can easily integrate with the technology that drives the automobile industry the innovative technology is all the more sustainable for generations to come.
Green technology works by utilizing a variety of alternate sources of energy to substitute gasoline or diesel to run car engines to control environmental pollution. For instance, a vehicle with a conventional engine can be developed into a green energy vehicle by using renewable fuels like pure ethanol or bio-diesel manufactured from vegetable oils or animal fats. Also, clean energy expertise employs advanced automobile technologies through incorporating hybrid power sources like electricity stored in batteries, hydrogen and natural gas to run automobiles without emitting green house gases.
Clean fuels have a number of inherent properties that make them cleaner than other conventional non-renewable energy sources. In other words, clean energy fuels emit lesser quantity of hydrocarbons that are less toxic and reactive with other atmospheric gases. Conversely, emissions from vehicles powered by natural gas, electricity and alcohol do not pollute the atmosphere the way nonrenewable conventional fuels do. Passenger vehicles relying on nonrenewable energy are a major source of air pollution around the world today. Therefore using clean energy to run vehicles can significantly reduce environmental pollution on a sustainable manner.
A typical alternative engine fuel to substitute petroleum based fuel is hydrogen gas. Vehicles run by hydrogen, called Fuel cell electric vehicles, have the potential to revolutionize the American transportation system (“Fuel cell electric vehicles”). The engines of these vehicles use hydrogen as the primary fuel source in its internal combustion engine that is otherwise known as a fuel cell. An internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen is similar to that of an engine utilizing gasoline or petrol wherein hydrogen gas combusts along with atmospheric oxygen to produce gases that expand to move the engine parts to create motion. Vehicle engines utilizing hydrogen gas gives off water vapor, warm air and very little amount of nitrous oxides as against the huge quantities of toxic gases emitted by petrol or diesel engines. Similarly, vehicles that run by using compressed natural gas, which is a more efficient renewable fuel compared with other conventional nonrenewable energy sources, give high mileage to vehicles. Other advantages of using natural gas as a vehicle fuel include ready availability; popular distribution networks, low costs and clean burning characteristics known for emitting very less polluting toxins into the surroundings compared with conventional fuels. Also, ethanol, popularly known as grain alcohol and which is made by fermenting the sugar content in plant materials, has substituted conventional fuels to run automobiles in many countries including the United States and Brazil nowadays (Shah and Sen). Ethanol is an excellent fuel that emits very low hydrocarbon. Besides, ethanol can be innovatively fermented at home from corn or other plant materials. As long as farming sustains on the face of the earth ethanol can also be fermented at home and can be used as an automobile fuel. In addition, electricity generated from wind or sunlight that is stored in batteries to run vehicles is the cleanest energy source that absolutely emits no toxic substance into the atmosphere.
Creating clean energy can positively influence the lives of individuals. For example, tapping the energy from natural sources like wind and sunlight and storing the same in batteries in cars is more of a creative idea that would excite nature-lovers. Similarly, domestically producing ethanol from bio-mass at home is another idea that encourages individuals to take up agriculture seriously. This also would indirectly contribute to more agricultural production across the world. However, even as clean energy fuel is cheaper than conventional fuel, modification of the engine and vehicle designing incurs higher initial expenditure.
Clean energy technology relies on renewable energy sources to run vehicles and thus contribute to sustainable transport. This innovative technology also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution because of the inherent clean nature of these fuels. The simple fact that clean energy vehicles use energy derived from sources that do not deplete ensures sustainable use of the resources for generations to come. Therefore, these alternative energy sources to power automobiles can help nations around the world to achieve self reliance in energy to run automobiles thereby reducing the dependence on other countries for oil import.
Clean vehicles. U.S-China clean energy center. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016. http://www.us-china-cerc.org/Clean_Vehicles.html
Fuel cell electric vehicles. U.S Department of Energy. 2016. Web. 20 April 2016. http://www. afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/fuel_cell.html
Shah, Y.R., and Sen, D.J. (2011). Bioalcohol as green energy-A review. International Journal of current scientific research, 1(2): 57-62