Alternative Fuels for Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable aviation fuel tends to get all the attention, but there are a range of alternative fuels to help conserve fuel and reduce emissions that climate conscious travelers can be on the lookout for when planning travel. Some alternative fuels to keep in mind:

Biodiesel: Biodiesel can be made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease for use in diesel vehicles or any other equipment that runs on diesel fuel. Analysis has shown that emissions for 100% biodiesel are 74% lower than those from petroleum diesel.  Travelers to Hawaii might check out Bio-Beetle for vehicles that run on biodiesel.

Renewable diesel: Like biodiesel, renewable diesel is made from natural fats, vegetable oils, and greases. Renewable diesel has an identical chemical to petroleum diesel and as a result can be used in engines designed to run on conventional diesel fuel. Even with its great environmental benefit - the carbon intensity of renewable diesel is about one-third that of the regular diesel - it is more expensive to produce than regular diesel which is why it’s not more available. (In California, petroleum producers subsidize it through the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, resulting in reasonable consumer prices.)  If you’re traveling in California, Canada or Europe though and traveling in a diesel car, filling up with renewable diesel is a smart move to help lower emissions. Valero sells it in California, Canada and Europe.

Hydrogen: Hydrogen can also be used to power vehicles. Once produced, hydrogen generates electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water and warm air. Similar to electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are powered by hydrogen. California is the only state where you can find one of 15,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles in U.S., because it is the only state with a network of retail hydrogen fueling stations to make the cars usable, however. Since 2015, three hydrogen -powered cars have been offered for sale from three different car companies: the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, the Hyundai Nexo SUV, and the Toyota Mirai. 

Trains, which can operate on renewable energy from solar or wind power, are also starting to be found running on alternative fuels. For example New Mexico’s new Rail Runner commuter train uses a blend of biodiesel, it was one of the first commuter (versus freight) rail systems in the United States to use biodiesel when it started in 2006. In Germany, the Coradia iLint became the first hydrogen powered fuel cell train when it started operations in 2018. Over the course of 2023 the company plans to roll out more of the trains in the country.

Reducing the emissions from travel is important, and so is cleaning up all those emissions already stored in our atmosphere. Even is all emissions halted today, the carbon dioxide stored in the atmosphere would continue to warm our planet for many years.  Join us in investing in clean air when you support our carbon removal innovators today.


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