Combustion of fossil fuels mostly gives byproducts of carbon dioxide and water vapour. However there are also some other compounds created along with the marriage of carbon with oxygen, and some of these are highly dangerous, either to personal or planetary health.
Bringing alternative vehicle fuels to the markets, oil and gas companies who are transition ing away from petroleum to renewable fuels will need to make sure these new products do not aggravate air pollution by adding to it, at the very least; and at best, prevent air pollution.
There are some bolt-on technologies that can be applied for diesel vehicles in particular, but if alternative fuels remove the problem exhausts from burning diesel fuels, then the problems will be solved without perhaps costly car modifications.
To begin outlining some of the research, I must outline the worst offenders in terms of air pollution – both from burning diesel fuels and petrol-gasoline.
Air Pollution from Vehicle Fuel Combustion
|Pollutant||Formula||Cause||Global Warming Potential (over 100 years)|
|Carbon dioxide||CO2||Combustion leading to oxidation of the fuel’s carbon by air||1|
|Carbon monoxide||CO||Incomplete combustion of the fuel’s carbon by insufficient air|
|Nitrogen oxides, or NOx||NO, NO2||Combustion of fossil fuels in normal air|
|Nitrous oxide||N2O||Combustion of fossil fuels in normal air||265|
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
including unburned hydrocarbons, such as methane
|Combustion of fossil fuels||Methane : between 62 and 96|
|PAHs (Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons)||Combustion of fossil fuels|
PM (Particulate Matter)
< 10 microns, < 2.5 microns, < 1 micron
|A core of carbon (C)||Combustion of Fossil Fuels|
|Black Carbon (a fraction of Particulate Matter)||C|
|Sulfur Dioxide||SO2||Combustion of Fossil Fuels|
|Trace metals and their ions||including possibly V, Ni, Fe, Zn, Mo, Pb, Al, Cr, Cu, P, Si, Ca, depending on original crude oil||Combustion of Fossil Fuels|