Bio-CNG is an Improvement on Gasoline and Diesel
Compressed natural gas (CNG) is cleaner than gasoline, both in smog-forming emissions and in CO2, but CNG from bio-sources (as opposed to fossil fuels) is even cleaner and closer to carbon neutral, depending how it is made and compressed. That's why Volkswagen has been looking into bio-CNG for a while. Their latest showcase of this technology will take the form of a single-make racing cup where Scirocco running on bio-CNG will compete.
Bio-CNG is made from renewable resources like grass or refined, um, biological waste. VW claims the fuel is CO2-neutral, generating only the amount of carbon dioxide already absorbed by the source feedstock. The energy produced from a ton of organic residues equates to 60 liters (about 15 gallons) of fuel oil, or 200 kilowatt-hours of electrical power. Using this production process, the yield from one hectare (2.4 acres) of cultivated land allows a vehicle to cover a distance of 67,600 kilometers (about 42,000 miles). VW says that makes bio-CNG the most efficient bio-fuel available.
The Scirocco Cup should begin next year. I'm not particularly a racing fan, but I'm glad to see that racing is trying next things and bringing various alt-fuels to mainstream audiences. People have to be exposed to something a while before they'll even consider buying it, and maybe the increased media exposure to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric cars, CNG, biodiesel, etc will slowly pay off over the next few years. Just remember the reaction of people to hybrid cars like the Prius a few years ago compared to how normal they now seem.
The only danger is that we don't just need new technology, but we need radically cleaner technology. Electric cars should be charged from the grid in a smart way (off peak, using clean power as much as possible), CNG vehicles should use as much bio-CNG as possible (methane reclaimed from landfills and agricultural waste?), etc. A change in tech is only the first step. We need to go the extra mile to make sure it's also much cleaner than what we have now.
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