Feeds

Motor titans crowd aboard 'green' bandwagon

Hot air now figuring prominently in debate

Security for virtualized datacentres

Unsurprisingly, then, Ferrari has avoided electric and instead made a foray into biofuels. The new F430 Spider Biofuel model can run on either petrol or E85, a mix of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol.

The Ferrari F430

The F430 Spider Biofuel. Designed to fit aboard a bandwagon.

Ethanol as it now stands - made from corn in fossil-burning conversion plants - isn't any greener than grid electricity. However, it does have powerful US political lobbies behind it, and it ought to be feasible to make ethanol out of greener feedstocks using greener energy to do so one day.

What's nice about ethanol is that you don't have to sacrifice performance and you don't really have to do very much to a normal car to make it run on E85. So one might doubt the seriousness of Ferrari's green commitment here.

Biofuel and electric cars are fairly old hat on the alternative motoring beat, but there are other ideas. Developers in France, for instance, are partnering with Indian motor colossus Tata to try and get cars powered by compressed air onto the road.

This approach has obvious disadvantages, not least the fact that air inevitably heats up as it is compressed - and thus a lot of energy gets wasted. Indeed, the (hot) Air Car has been around for a long time without <cough> gaining any traction, but designer MDI still reckons it could go at 100mph and cover 125 miles on a single charge.

Like electric or hydrogen vehicles, compressed-air cars would be no more than a way of storing energy from somewhere else. In France, MDI's cars could use compressors powered from the country's mostly nuclear grid, and be truly low-CO2, but in most other countries this would lead to more hydrocarbons being burnt overall. A lot more, actually, as the electric powerplants turn fuel into 'leccy inefficiently, then the grid moves it to the cars inefficiently and finally the cars mostly use it inefficiently. Compared to burning the hydrocarbons on board, anyway.

Orthodox greens don't like nuclear, anyway; nor do they much care for ethanol vehicles, saying biomass power should be used in other ways; nor do they think a big expansion in electricity use is OK.

(There's no pleasing those chaps on this front, really, except perhaps by getting rid of your car.)

Despite all the headlines out of Detroit just now, green motoring even in the sense of low-carbon would seem a long way off. Green motoring in the Greenpeace sense of green may not even exist. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.