The different types of fuels comprise materials used as storage of potential energy. These fuels are functional when the energy is released as heat. The term fuel was originally reserved only for materials that are able to store chemical energy subsequently released by combustion. However, in modern times, even substances that can release nuclear energy have been regarded as fuel sources. The materials that can release energy via non-combustible means like oxidation are also recognized as fuels.
Energy from fuel sources are harvested and used to power tasks for everyday living such as lighting, warming up a room and cooking. Hydrocarbons are commonly used as source of fuel. On a cellular level, food is known as the fuel that the cell uses to harness energy for continued function.
Hydrocarbon fuels – These types of fuels are more commonly known as fossil fuels, which are created deep in the earth through natural degradation processes. Anaerobic decomposition of dead animals and plants that have been buried under layers and layers of soil and rocks caused the formation of these types of fuels. Right now, oil companies are harvesting these fuels. These fossil fuels take millions of years to form, which means that future generations of people on earth must find other sources of fuel now because the fossil fuel reserves are running out. The common kinds of fossil fuels are methane, carbon and coal.
Alcohol fuel – The types of fuels that utilize alcohol comprise methanol, propanol, butanol and ethanol. These are very good as alternative sources of fuels because the primary materials can be chemically and biologically synthesized. Like hydrocarbons, these fuels can also be used for internal combustion engines. Alcohols are known as renewable sources of energy because they can be produced from biological waste using chemical procedures like fermentation. Biobutanol, in particular, is great for use in combustion engines because it yields an energy density close to that of gasoline.
Hydrogen fuel – Hydrogen is viable as a fuel resource because it utilizes combustion to release energy. Right now, hydrogen fuel is among the various types of fuels used in propelling spacecrafts. Some companies are attempting to mass produce hydrogen fuel, but production is limited by the costs. To manufacture hydrogen fuel, special equipment should be used for electrolysis. Electricity is used on water in order to harvest the hydrogen and separate them from the oxygen atoms. Thus, energy is needed to harvest this source of energy.
Vegetable Oils – Vegetable oil is deemed as one of the best alternative types of fuels because there is so much of this oil used everyday in different industries, particularly the food industry. After these oils have been used for culinary purposes, they turn into waste materials. With the increasing popularity of using vegetable oils as fuel sources, there may be enough recycled use for these oils. Many companies bid for the right to collect used oil from restaurants and other facilities that use a significant amount of this oil. After collection, these vegetable oils are then processed so that the kinematic viscosity of the oil is reduced. This reduction in viscosity is important to make the vegetable oil more compatible with already established fuel systems.