Types of fuel
Are gasoline and diesel the same? The answer is no because these are two different fuels. While gasoline is used in engines that require high compression, diesel is used in vehicles with higher engine revolutions per minute. Thus, if you have ever wondered why there are so many different fuel types, it’s because they each have certain qualities and uses. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of fuels and understand the major types that exist.
So, what is liquid fuel? What is it made of? Well, liquid fuels are what we see in our everyday lives. They are typically made from petroleum and include gasoline, diesel, biodiesel (also called renewable diesel), ethanol/methanol, kerosene, and propane. These fuels are used in internal combustion engines, turbines, and lamps/heaters.
Liquid fuels consist mainly of carbon atoms which can be combined with hydrogen atoms in different proportions to give either pure hydrocarbons or mixtures of several hydrocarbon molecules. The simplest liquid fuel has a single molecule, which means that one carbon atom is joined to two hydrogen atoms. This molecular arrangement defines what the fuel will be called when it’s in its pure form.
Gaseous fuels are what we see in the form of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), hydrogen, and synthesis/hydrocarbon gases. In terms of usage, gaseous fuels are extremely popular since they can be used as a source of energy for residential heating and cooking.
As the name implies, solid fuels are what we typically see as coal and wood. They can be burned directly to produce heat or power engines that convert their energy into electricity or mechanical work. The main advantage of these fuel types is that they have a high carbon content so burning them produces less carbon dioxide than other fuel types.
Alternatives for fuel
Who doesn’t know that fuels have their bad side! The good news is that there are a lot of alternatives for fuel. As with all types of new technology, however, the question is, are the alternatives good? Well, this is a question for debate. What is undeniable is that fuel alternatives exist, including wind energy, solar power, tidal power, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.