Alternative energy is already having a considerable impact on industry. Solar and wind have become part of sustainable energy plans around the world, and options for powering autos with non-petroleum fuels are expanding.


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However, popular gasoline alternative like hydrogen, biofuels, and batteries still present their own challenges and shortcomings. There’s a new idea on the table that’s now being discussed as a potential clean energy source that you may not have heard of.

Clean And Recyclable 
Metal powders, such as iron, have been proposed as a viable replacement for fossil and alternative fuels currently used to power cars and other forms of transportation. Not only are metal powers readily available, according to new research they show promise as type of recyclable, clean energy solution.

By switching from the internal combustion engines that power most vehicles today, over to an external combustion engine—like those that powered industrial era locomotives—we could potentially propel cars on flames from metal powders.

Their role in a sustainable future lies with their capability to produce stable nontoxic, solid-oxide products when burned. Instead of simply being released into the atmosphere as carbon-dioxide, which occurs when fossil fuels are burned, the resulting solid-oxide products could be contained and recovered for reuse.

Credit: Sualur

From Lab Findings On To A Prototype
Though technically feasible and shown through laboratory findings, using metal powder as fuel for low-to-no CO2 propulsion has yet to be demonstrated.

Researchers are now working the challenge of testing the technology and developing a working prototype burner. In addition to proving the real world viability of such a system, there will be plenty of obstacles when it comes to commercializing the production and use of metals specifically for fuel.

If the idea can actually be put to work, researchers have said the switch would not only save carbon and offer notable cost reduction compared to the continued use of petrol and diesel fuels, it would spur the type of innovation needed to create an alternatively fueled, low carbon future.

What are your thoughts on using iron powder and other metals to actually power cars, trucks, and more?

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