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Crude Oil Alternatives and The Future of the Transportation industry (Trucking, Rail and Air) - Research Paper Example

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Crude Oil Alternatives and the Future of the Transportation industry (Trucking, Rail and Air) The development of alternative forms of energy has assumed center stage in the global energy market. The eventual depletion of fossil fuels is a scenario that no one can deny (Mann, Gahagan and Gordon)…
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Crude Oil Alternatives and The Future of the Transportation industry (Trucking, Rail and Air)
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Download file to see previous pages Historically transport has depended on animal power and then fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels has been the human tradition for more than a century and a half now so there is little surprise that calls for change are gathering lingering discontent. The move to alternative energy systems may be slow but it is certainly steady. A number of avenues have been explored in regards to generating energy for the transportation industry. Ideas have ranged from the use of solar panels to the use of batteries in vehicles to power motion. These technologies can be seen as replacing the current transportation infrastructure altogether. However, certain other technologies such as the use of hydrogen will mean that the transportation infrastructure and principles will change but will not be replaced altogether. Another option is the merger between existing systems and newly introduced alternative technologies to create hybrid systems. These hybrid systems are currently the most viable option for changes in the transport industry. At this point in time, the transportation industry depends on one thing – an engine. All kinds of vehicles possess an engine to provide driving energy whether you talk of road vehicles, aquatic vehicles, air vehicles or space vehicles. The engine is fundamentally driven using materials that combust and in doing so provide energy. This applies equally across the board to all forms of conventionally powered vehicles. As far as changes to road vehicles are concerned, the industry has taken a large shift. In the early years of alternative energy development, the center focus remained the development of vehicles that utilized hydrogen as a fuel. This move was widely researched by leading manufacturers such as General Motors (GM), Ford, Honda, Toyota and BMW but a sustainable solution could not be found (BMW). One primary cause for the failure of this system was the need to replace the existing apparatus for fuelling while keeping costs to a minimum. The oil based road vehicle took decades to come to a discernible form. Furthermore, a number of auxiliaries supports the oil based road vehicle in its operation. These include things such as manufacturing expertise, fuelling systems, maintenance systems etc. It was never practicable enough to realize a change in a few short years that would somehow replace the existing setup (Ghirardi, Togasaki and Seibert). Instead, the industry looked to other alternatives such as using the current hybrid systems. A hybrid system is essentially a combination of a conventional gasoline engine with a battery powered motor. The motor tends to operate in the lower driving speeds while the gasoline engine kicks in when more power is required. The road to change for road vehicles is expected to be the optimal path followed by other modes of transportation such as rail and air travel. Current attempts at alternative energy in air travel are looking at liquid hydrogen as the fuel of choice (Robertson). However, rail transport alternative energy development is more advanced as hybrid solutions are being looked into. The rising costs of oil around the world are forcing manufacturers, retailers and operators to look for alternatives although the changes are not highly radical. In a few short years the price of crude oil has increased many fold. This trend is expected to continue as oil rich countries will control production ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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