Weird Alternative Fuels for Cars

Petrol has seen a significant  increase in price in the last twenty years and as oil supply is drained it looks like this trend is set to continue. Needless to say, the only real way to curb rising fuel costs is to find an alternative if not infinite supply of alternative energy.

Fortunately, there are plenty of scientists on the job and among the reasonable alternatives there have been a number of more colourful proposals put forward too. So, let’s look at the crazy alternative fuels; some that would make Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor look relatively normal.



What better fuel to power cars than air? It’s all around us and is infinite in supply. Compressed air engines have been piloted a number of times and succeeded in powering cars at speeds of up to 90mph. The whole process is very similar to that of a steam engine, with the air stored in high pressure tanks and then sent to drive a piston.

These sorts of cars don’t require many of the conventional parts that an ignited fuel engine does and omit spark plugs and starter motors, meaning they are low in price to produce. The leftovers from the compressed air can also be used for air conditioning, further lowering the need for fossil fuels. However, compressing air costs a lot of money and also a lot of fossil fuels, meaning it’s currently not practical.

Chip Fat

Chip fat and animal fats can be used to power most engines and amazingly works in most diesel cars without need for a conversion. The fuel also produces less CO2 emissions than conventional alternatives – another benefit. The downside is that you need to grow the crops to create the fuel and this is energy intensive and also an ethical issue. Still, a number of companies run cars on vegetable oils in the UK, including bus companies; car leasing companies and many garages also stock the fuel.

Beer and Spirits

In some countries pubs throw the ends of beer and other alcohol is thrown into a specified container for waste. This is then processed and turned into ethanol, which in turn is mixed with petrol. This ethanol mixture can be used to power autos. However, it’s worth noting that anything above 10% ethanol in the mixture does require a conversion. Another problem is that it is energy intensive to create ethanol based fuels en-mass.


Powering a car on fermented onion juice may sound like the weirdest idea of all time, however it’s possible. Fermented onions create methane gas and this can be used to power electric cars. Simply, the gas is used to create electricity and the cars are then charged from this. The remaining pulp is turned into cattle feed, so there is little waste from growing the crops from fuel.
There are numerous other forms of crazy energies out there, that we may see entering the energy creation sphere in the future.

Cormac Reynolds writes for First Vehicle Leasing and has written numerous articles on the topic of green energy.