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Transport fuels are energy sources that power various means of transport and include those derived from petroleum, biomass, and synthetic fuels.

Transport Fuels

Definition

Transport fuels are energy sources that power various means of transport, generally to power internal combustion engines. The transportation sector consists of road (including passenger cars, trucks and buses), rail, water, and air transport used for moving people and goods from one place to another[1]Center for Climate and Energy Solutions http://www.c2es.org/energy/use/transportation Center for Climate and Energy Solutions http://www.c2es.org/energy/use/transportation Center for Climate and Energy Solutions http://www.c2es.org/energy/use/transportation Center for Climate and Energy Solutions http://www.c2es.org/energy/use/transportation  . The transportation sector accounts for around 20% of the global energy consumption and is the biggest consumer of oil in the world[2]International Energy Agency. 2014 Key World Energy Statistics. Retrieved from  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf International Energy Agency. 2014 Key World Energy Statistics. Retrieved from  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf International Energy Agency. 2014 Key World Energy Statistics. Retrieved from  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf International Energy Agency. 2014 Key World Energy Statistics. Retrieved from  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf .

Transport fuels are the result of refining processes that convert extracted energy resources into useable products. Liquid fuels vary based on the chemical characteristics of the primary fuel source. The absence or presence of certain carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules determines the structure of the fuel source that liquid fuels are refined from.  Sources of liquid fuels include petroleum, natural gas, biofuels, alcohols, hydrogen, ammonia, or even coal. The refining and distillation process of the various liquid fuels depends on the mixture of the fuel source being used.

80% of today’s transportation fuels are derived from petroleum.

Which includes:

  • Gasoline/Petrol
  • Diesel,
  • LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)
  • Jet fuel
  • Marine fuel

Alternatives to fossil fuel based transport liquid fuels include:

Context

The combustion of oil derived fuels in the transportation sector contributes significantly to global CO2 emissions. For example, in 2011, the transport sector produced over 5 million metric tons of CO2[5]The World Bank. CO2 Emissions From Transport. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.MT?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc The World Bank. CO2 Emissions From Transport. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.MT?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc The World Bank. CO2 Emissions From Transport. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.MT?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc The World Bank. CO2 Emissions From Transport. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.MT?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc  Road transport, in particular, personal vehicles, make the greatest part of the transportation sector today and, therefore is the most significant emitter[6]International Energy Agency. (2014) Energy Efficiency Indicators: Essentials for Policy-Making.International Energy Agency. (2014) Energy Efficiency Indicators: Essentials for Policy-Making.International Energy Agency. (2014) Energy Efficiency Indicators: Essentials for Policy-Making.International Energy Agency. (2014) Energy Efficiency Indicators: Essentials for Policy-Making. https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/IEA_EnergyEfficiencyIndicators_EssentialsforPolicyMaking.pdf.

Alternatives to fossil fuel vehicles are quickly evolving, for example electric and hydrogen vehicles. The greatest benefit of such cars is their reduced environmental impact due to fewer CO2 emissions. For example, all-electric vehicles (EVs) that run just on electricity produced from “green” sources like hydro-, solar-, wind- power, do create air pollutants or carbon emissions[7]U.S. Department of Energy. All-Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtmlU.S. Department of Energy. All-Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtmlU.S. Department of Energy. All-Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtmlU.S. Department of Energy. All-Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml. Nevertheless, vehicles using alternative fuels have serious drawbacks, including limited driving range, high cost, or engine adjustments (biofuels). For this reason, petroleum based fuels still remains, the most widely used fuel for the majority of vehicle owners. 

 

References

  1. ^ Center for Climate and Energy Solutions http://www.c2es.org/energy/use/transportation 
  2. ^ International Energy Agency. 2014 Key World Energy Statistics. Retrieved from  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/keyworld2014.pdf 
  3. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Biofuels Basics. Retrieved from  http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_biofuels.html 
  4. ^ European Commission. Future Transport Fuels. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/urban/cts/doc/2011-01-25-future-transport-fuels-report.pdf 
  5. ^ The World Bank. CO2 Emissions From Transport. Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.CO2.TRAN.MT?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=asc 
  6. ^ International Energy Agency. (2014) Energy Efficiency Indicators: Essentials for Policy-Making.
  7. ^ U.S. Department of Energy. All-Electric Vehicles. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml

Sorry, we do not yet have a video specifically for Transport Fuels.  We are adding new  videos to StudentEnergy.org weekly, but in the meantime check out this video on Oil or Biofuels.

Take a Step Back

Refined Products

Refined petroleum products are derived from crude oils through processes such as catalytic cracking and fractional distillation.

Biofuels

Biofuels are combustible fuels created from biomass.

Keep Learning! Progress To

Transportation

Our global transportation systems are powered by energy and enable us to commute, travel, and ship goods all over the world.