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Boron: The Best Choice In Alternative Fuel

1140 words - 5 pages

Boron: The Best Choice in Alternative Fuel

With the way the environment is looking these days it seems that it may be a good idea to raise the price of gasoline by one dollar. With growing concerns about pollution and other toxins in the atmosphere, the industry is forced to look into alternate forms of fuel. This extra tax on gasoline could aid in funding their research. Currently research is being performed on the element boron. It has been found to be more efficient and a generally safer fuel than gasoline.

In the past scientists have been looking into solar and electrically powered vehicles to aid in the reduction of pollutants. Only recently has boron been introduced as another feasible alternative fuel. This alternative to gasoline is extremely combustible, and when burned there are no emissions or harmful pollutants. Also, it's easy to dispose of and has an extremely high energy density (Young 1). This little known element has become more recognized for its unique properties.

Discovered in 1808 by J.L. Gay-Lussac and L.J. Thenard in Paris, France, and Sir Humphry Davy in London, England, boron is element number five on the Periodic Table of the Elements. The name "boron" comes from the Arabic "buraq" (pronounced borax). The actual element boron is not commonly used, but compounds of boron are very common. These compounds can be found in such household items as detergent. Boron is also used in Pyrex glass, which makes the glass more heat resistant. Boron is also an essential mineral for plants and animals, although it can be toxic in large quantities (Chemsoc 1). Boron has many common uses, but there are also many advantages to using it as and alternative form of fuel.

The biggest advantage to using a boron powered car is safety. Boron is extremely combustible but it is also extremely hard to light (Cowan 2). The reaction of boron in air depends upon the crystalline of the sample, temperature, particle size, and purity. Boron does not react with air at room temperature, in fact; it doesn’t react at all (Winter 1). A pound of boron could not be ignited with a blowtorch, at least not in our atmosphere. It takes pure oxygen in order for boron to burn. A problem with petroleum powered vehicles is that when the vehicle crashes, there is a large chance that the gas tank will catch fire and explode. In the case of boron, this would never happen because of boron's inability to react with the earth's air.

Another extremely beneficial advantage to using boron as an alternate form of fuel is that it is recyclable. Boron is produced in circular lumps that somewhat resemble discs. Boron cars would have one of these discs to start out with, but it wouldn't just be burned once and release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. It would go back to a nuclear power plant to get regenerated. The decomposition of boron is a thermal process, so the heating of the discs...

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