Written by Jill Ettinger
Cars that run on only one type of fuel? That's so pre-millennium. How about a car that runs on wine? Or cheese? Or both?
Showcased at the 5th annual Bridgestone sponsored Eco-Rally that goes from Oxford, England to London, the wine and cheese powered vehicle was just one of many automobiles featuring low and zero-emission fuel sources.
Not only can the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel run on a wine-based ethanol (not safe for human consumption) and whey -- a by-product of cheese -- but the car is one of the fastest in the world, going from zero to 60 mph in fewer than four seconds. The Exige can also run on petroleum fuels and methanol (made by condensing CO2 from the air) in addition to its preferred diet of wine and cheese.
Growing in popularity alongside hybrid and 100 percent electric-powered vehicles is the practice of using food that has been converted into biofuel including running vehicles on spent French fry/deep fryer grease with a conversion process easily installed in most modern vehicles so that they can still run on gasoline as needed. Collecting biofuel can be an easy and affordable way to power converted cars by either gleaning donations or buying it for considerably less money per gallon than petroleum from restaurants (or at the rising number of biofuel stations cropping up across the country).
A farm cooperative in rural southwest France produced more than 4,000 gallons of biodiesel last year with a combination of duck, pig and calf fat. The biofuel is not only being used to power farm equipment and vehicles, but will also power a nearby factory.
Unlike petroleum, biofuels are biodegradable, easily renewable, less noxious and less toxic. They can be produced from common vegetable matter and animal waste and do not contribute harmful carbon dioxide emissions to the environment.