Fuel Alternatives you Would Never Think of.

Five WTF Alternative Fuels

Updated March 28, 2014

People have been experimenting with alternative fuels since before we discovered North Sea oil, and, consequently, many wild and wacky fuels have come into existence. Sadly, we have not yet found anything as efficient and consistent as oil based fuel, but here are a few petrol alternatives which might just work well enough to raise a few eyebrows at Shell.


Coconut oil burns in a similar way to vegetable oil and is a viable fuel for powering a car. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of effort to refine and doesn’t burn very efficiently. Nevertheless, if the problems with finding fuel continue, vegetable and coconut oil may be the fuel of the future — although we may have to put up with cars that don’t go as fast as they used to.


A little like Stevenson’s Rocket, cars can be converted so that they run on wood. The car is adapted so that it may burn wood at 1400°C, which creates a super heated gas that powers the engine. The gas is so hot that it is combustible in itself – a little like if you heat up distilled water in a microwave it becomes explosive (don’t try that at home kids!). The super heated combustible gas is pumped electronically into the areas where burning petrol would usually go, and the pressure powers the engine in the same way it would for petrol-powered cars.


The Prince of Wales owns an Aston Martin that he’s adjusted so that it runs on wine. The idea does work in principal and is not as expensive as one may imagine, since there are thousands of gallons of wine that are produced in excess by the wine industry each year. EU rules state that only a certain amount of wine may be legally sold in each country, to ensure the price remains high. This excess wine can be used to make bioethanol fuel to power vehicles.

Nuclear power

The size of a nuclear generator is far too big to mount on a car and is more often found in submarines. Ford, however, did create designs for a steam-powered car where the steam was heated with nuclear fission. The smallest nuclear power generators are about the size of an adult, and are currently mounted on satellites orbiting the earth.


Namely the type of detritus that your puppy leaves on the rug on Christmas Day! The power of methane gas produced from animal and human waste has long been known, and was even featured in the futuristic Mad Max 3 movie. The gas is clean burning but sadly very hard to compress, so cars would have to refuel too often for it to be useful. A person would struggle to finish their driving lessons before having to refill at a local “Gas” station.

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What do you think? Will we see any of these fuel sources in 2015 Cars?




Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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