Standard Article

Alternative fuels and prosects — overview

Fuel Cell Technology and Applications

Sustainable energy supply

  1. J. M. Ogden

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470974001.f301001

Handbook of Fuel Cells

Handbook of Fuel Cells

How to Cite

Ogden, J. M. 2010. Alternative fuels and prosects — overview. Handbook of Fuel Cells. .

Author Information

  1. Princeton University, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Continued reliance on current fuels and end-use technologies poses serious environmental and energy supply security challenges. Globally, direct combustion of fuels for transportation and heating accounts for over half of greenhouse gas emissions, a significant fraction of air pollutant emissions and about two thirds of primary fossil energy use. A variety of alternative transportation fuels and efficient, low-polluting vehicle technologies have been proposed to help address these challenges. Vehicle technologies include advanced internal combustion engine vehicles, internal combustion engine/hybrid electric vehicles, battery powered electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. Use of lower-polluting fuels, such as reformulated gasoline or diesel, compressed natural gas, methanol, ethanol, dimethyl ether, Fischer–Tropsch liquids and hydrogen, has been suggested. Fuel cell vehicles are particularly attractive as they have zero or near-zero tailpipe emissions, offer the potential for near-zero full fuel cycle emissions and use of diverse primary energy sources. In this chapter, we review the status of alternative fuels for vehicles, with an emphasis on fuel cell vehicles and their fuels. The potential role of fuel cell vehicles in meeting future environmental and energy supply goals is discussed, and fuel strategies for implementing fuel cell vehicles on a wide scale are examined.


  • fuel cell vehicles;
  • alternative fuels;
  • hydrogen fuel;
  • methanol fuel;
  • synthetic fuel