Efficiency Versus Cost of Alternative Fuels

In the discussion of traditional versus renewable energies and alternatives to conventional crude oil based fuels in the transportation sector, efficiency calculations are but one decision making parameter. Comparing the assets and liabilities of fossil-based and renewable fuels in the transportation sector, further aspects such as centralised versus decentralised technologies, cost evaluations, taxation, and ecological/social benefits have to be taken into account.

In the course of their paper Efficiency Versus Cost of Alternative Fuels from Renewable Resources, Kaul and Edinger outline the driving parameters for shifting toward alternative fuels based on fossil or renewable resources and their use in innovative vehicle technologies such as advanced internal combustion and fuel cell electric drive systems.

For the decision in favor or against an alternative fuel to be introduced to the mass market, automotive technologies and the energy supply system have to be examined in an integrated way. From an economic and technological perspective, some fuels may be even incompatible with the trend toward using renewable resources that have advantages in decentralised systems. Beyond efficiency calculations, political and industrial interests arise and may be influential to reshaping our currently crude oil based mobility sector.

Sanjay Kaul and Raphael Edinger, Efficiency Versus Cost of Alternative Fuels from Renewable Resources – Outlining Decision Parameters. Energy Policy 32 (2004), pp. 929-935.