Ethanol As A Fuel Of The Future

The energy starved modern economy is looking for alternate fuels. They have begun tapping the potential of solar and wind energy. In addition, a lot of research is being done to generate the bio-fuels that are safer for the environment and economical as well. The development of ethanol as a fuel is a giant step in this regard.


Ethanol is considered by many to be the fuel of the future. It is a plant based fuel and extracted from the crops specially cultivated for this purpose. The corn and sugar cane are the most common crops in this regard. In addition, the potential of certain weeds and tree bark has also been realized by the oil producers.

Challenges For Ethanol

The ethanol is gaining popularity as a bio fuel that is safe for the environment as well. However, there are numerous challenges that it has to surmount before it becomes a common man’s choice. A few of these challenges are discussed below;-

Higher Cost

Ethanol is an attractive alternate fuel but it is quite expensive as compared to the gasoline. Production costs of ethanol are much higher as compared to gasoline.

Despite the subsidies offered by the government, the costs involved are much higher for production.

Low Mileage

Another challenge for the ethanol is its relative low mileage as compared to the gasoline. Research has shown that the ethanol performs upto 70 % of the gasoline. It means that the people using hybrid cars are paying much more for low mileage. A hybrid car that uses 85% of ethanol with 15% of gasoline costs more to fill the tank but mileage is greatly reduced.

Competition With Food Crops

Ethanol is obtained fro m the plant sources. The crops for its generation are cultivated on the cost of the food crops. In a community devoid of the food security, the crops for fuel generation can not succeed. Although, these crops bring better earning for the farmers but still they are not popular.

In USA, the emphasis for cultivation shall remain on food crops. The way out for the ethanol is the development of procedures to extract it from trees 9cellulose) and grass. However, this is going to take a lot of research and effort.

Shipping Costs

Gasoline and other fuels can be pumped using the pipelines. But this is not possible in case of ethanol due to its capacity to react and bind with water. This results in the shipment of fuel in special barges and tankers. This fact results in increasing the shipping cost and the fuel prices go up.

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