What is the best natural resource that will provide energy for transportation efficiently without damaging the environment? energy

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "alternative fuels" for transportation are all red herrings.  As others have mentioned, they may be better environmentally, in terms of reduced pollution, but they all fall into the same category of big, distributed systems, as currently exists with gasoline.  A big part of the energy-transportation issue is that the delivery system needs to change.  Simply changing the fuel is at best a stop gap measure.  Ethanol, for example, touted as a breakthrough in extending gasoline supplies, costs more energy in its production than its worth.  This is simple understanding of thermodynamics -- ethanol is synthesized from corn, which is grown using fertilzer, which is created from....oil.  Why not just turn the oil into gas?  The perception is that oil companies, with government's helping hand, are doing something.  They're not.  Same goes for hydrogen cells, biodiesel, and the rest of the planopy of chemicals that must be purchased from some large oil concern.   We had the answer 100 years ago.  Electricity's the way to go!  Not only can emissions be effectively contained at a central power station, if you're concerned about increased coal burning or nuclear storage for its generation, the technologies are at hand where you can generate your own!  This alone is the primary reason big oil will never let it happen, as they want to you to continue to have to return to a "station" to purchase some sort of a fuel.  If I could afford to, I'd go buy a Tesla car and install the windmill and solar panels. i hope I'll be able to do so soon.  For now, I'll settle for a Prius and wait for the fully electrical Japanese car.  Once its cheap enough for most people to do the same, the transportation problem is solved.  Individuals purchasing power is what will solve this problem, not programs nor "solutions" from big government and or big oil.  The sooner people stop talking about the problem and start purchasing those products that encourages companies to produce more truly green (electrical!) solutions, the sooner the problem is solved.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess it depends on what kind of transportation you mean. Poster #2 talks about biodiesel, which is better for the environment than burning fossil fuels. But if we really could make the switch to electric powered cars for short runs around town, and trains for longer runs, things could be much better. Of course, the electricity has to be produced, which is another environmental issue. I do think people are starting to think a little more long term, lately, as far as what is possible in the future instead of just next month. I don't hear as many people insisting that environmentally friendly power is only possible on a very small scale. Wind farms and solar power seem to be viable on a large scale--look into what Denmark has done since the oil embargo of the 1970's.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Solar power, hydro-electric (water), corn-based fuel (ethanol), solar powered batteries, wind...all of these are great choices and do not effect or damage the environment.  I would love it if we could figure a way to harness wind power and put it into a vehicle for a day or two's transportation power. 

krishna-agrawala | Student

Vehicle damage environment because of the harmful gases in their exhaust. As long as vehicle produce power by burning some fuel, irrespective of what the source of that fuel is, the problem of exhaust gases will remain.

The exhaust problem can be solved, not by alternative form of energy such as electric energy and solar energy. Currently, electric power vehicles are widely used for trains running on foxed paths such as railways. Some electricity driven vehicle are also used for special applications like material handling and golf carts.

Some experimental work is also going on to develop vehicles that use energy sources such as compressed gas. Also vehicles burning hydrogen as a fuel will not produce any harmful exhaust.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Biodiesel Fuel can be produced from a variety of natural crops including rapeseed, soybean, mustard, flax, sunflower, canola, palm oil, hemp, jatropha and waste vegetable oils. This fuel source is said to reduce engine wear and produce less harmful emissions. Biodiesel is used as an alternative fuel source, but requires engine modifications. There is still a great deal of debate about the pros and cons of biodiesel.

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