The history reminder – The First Biofuel Car
Nowadays we are talking almost daily about renewable energy, about sustainable life, about finding the alternatives to replace the pollutant energy sources. Solar energy, wind energy, biomass, biofuel. Lots of researches and studies on a renewable energy topic are sponsored with a big money. Every day bombastic news are announced, new energy from new source, new alternative to an old energy, scientists found a way to get biofuel from algae, from manures… Today there is no more doubt that renewable energy time has come. Solar photovoltaic panels are on the roof, wind turbines are grown on the farms, biofuel every day gets richer and cheaper. But still there are very little biofuel-powered cars on the streets.
Unless you are some kind of a quiz-freak, you would probably say that biofuel vehicles are developed very recently. But, the truth is that idea of alternative and renewable energy in a car industry is more than a 160 years old. The first experiments on a biofuel car engines was made by scientists E.Duffy and J.Patrick back there in 1853, approximately at the same time as the first solar photovoltaic experiments began.
The end of the 19th century great German innovator engineer Rudolph Diesel invented the first biofuel car engine that ran on peanut oil. At August 10th 1893 in Augsburg, Germany he disclosed it to the public and since then that day was declared as International Biodiesel Day. Few years later, in 1900, at France World Fair in Paris, Diesel was rewarded with Grand Prix award when he demonstrated his first ready to use biofuel car engine.
However, the first test use in trucks was made 23 years later by Daimler, MAN and Benz due to the weight of the engine itself.
That Rudolph Diesel was a visionary can be seen from his speech in a 1912, where he predicted planetary need for renewable energy by saying: “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today, but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal-tar products of the present time.”
In 1933 the first biofuel car, the Citroën Rosalie was produced. It was also the first passengers car. Since the oil was very cheap at that time most of the models used a redesigned engine that ran on diesel.
Few years later, in 1937 Mr. Chavanne at the University Of Brussels, Belgium, was granted a patent for the transesterification of vegetable oils what is known as the first formal production of biodiesel.
Today companies such as Ford, Volvo and Saab are the leading producers of Flex-Fuel Vehicles – vehicles that are able to run on any percentage of bioethanol blend up to E85 (E85 is an abbreviation for an ethanol fuel blend of up to 85% denatured ethanol fuel and gasoline or other hydrocarbon by volume).
Even though it is relatively easy to buy car that uses renewable energy, it is still not that easy to find bioethanol stations. But surely that will change rapidly in a very near future.