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Three alternatives to gasoline

You probably read it in the news or noticed it when you were at the gas station: gasoline prices have risen sharply. A few weeks ago, the Dutch recommended retail price for Euro95 even reached a new record of €2.50 per liter. Meanwhile, the recommended retail price has dropped slightly to €2.43. This increases the need for alternatives to replace gasoline now and in the future. We will tell you which three alternatives are available (soon) and how they can be used.

1. Hydrogen

Hydrogen is hot. Many industries are looking for ways to use hydrogen and for lots of people it still sounds like something for the future. There are already a few hydrogen cars on the road, such as the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo. Driving on hydrogen has three major advantages. The fuel is friendly to the environment, these cars need relatively little maintenance and you can easily cover five hundred kilometers on a full tank. At the moment there are only eleven operational hydrogen gas stations in the Netherlands, but eleven new gas stations are being built.

But how does a hydrogen car work? A hydrogen car produces its own hydrogen through the process of electrolysis. This involves electric current passing through water to create hydrogen. A good example is the hydrogen car of our partner Eco-runner Team Delft. Last June they won the Hydrogen Efficiency Challenge and set a world record for the most efficient hydrogen car, covering a distance of 3396 km on just 435 grams of hydrogen.

When it comes to increasing hydrogen production, the infrastructure for transportation, distribution and storage are not ready yet. It is also unclear whether enough renewable energy will be available. Electricity could be imported from other countries as well. Using hydrogen as a substitute for gasoline in the short term is not an option right now. Support from the government is needed to make this happen.

2. Electric driving

The electric car is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. According to the ANWB, the number of fully electric cars on Dutch roads increased by 49% between 2020 and 2021. This huge increase is expected to increase even further. The main reasons why car enthusiasts choose electric driving are the driving comfort, the environmental benefits and the financial advantages. Even now that energy prices have risen, electric driving remains cheaper than driving on gasoline.

How sustainable are electrical cars? This depends on how the power is generated. TU/e has shown that the emissions of electric cars (including production of the car) are half as much as fuel cars. Another important question is whether there will be enough power when everyone drives electric cars. If all Dutch people start driving electric, the electricity grid would not be able to handle the total need of electricity. We need more electricity and charging stations for this.

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3. Solar energy

A fantastic invention: cars that run on solar energy. At the moment they are not driving around on public roads yet, but that will change soon. The company Lightyear is testing their first car that runs on solar energy as we speak. Ewoud Felderhof, Prototype Engineer at Lightyear via TMC, says: “What makes the Lightyear so special is that the entire car has been designed from scratch. All this with the aim of achieving the highest possible efficiency, the lowest possible weight and optimal streamline.”

Another great example is the BluePoint Atlas from our partner Agoria Solar Team. This team of twenty young engineering students has designed a striking solar car with which they have already won several awards.

But why do we need solar cars at all when we have electric cars? According to Lightyear, electric cars face the problem that energy must first be produced on a large scale. Solar cars do not require a charging infrastructure and can therefore be produced on a large scale. However, we have to wait a little longer until these cars are put into production for the consumer.

Increased demand for green energy

If we want to replace gasoline in a sustainable way in the short term, we do not yet have a perfect solution ready yet. To get there, we first need to generate enough green energy. We believe that these three alternatives can offer a great solution for gasoline in the future.

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