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By | Jan. 2009
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The alternatives to liquid fuels are compressed gases and electric power, however, both are viewed as inferior by the automotive industry. The gases are inferior in terms of energy content per unit volume. Electric power may be stored on board a vehicle in a battery or (for a short time) in capacitors. However, batteries are regarded within the automotive industry as substandard compared to liquid fuels in terms of energy stored by unit weight and volume. Furthermore their cost is high, and the manufacture of some battery types involves large quantities of scarce or environmentally-threatening materials including cadmium, lead, lithium, nickel, sodium, sulphur and zinc. According to the already mentioned just-auto report entitled The future of road vehicle fuels – forecasts to 2020 (January 2008), the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2007 found that around 230m barrels of oil equivalent are required to meet global demand each day. Of this total, liquids account for the largest share of the 230m barrels (37%) followed by coal (23%) and natural gas (21%), leaving a 19% contribution from nuclear and sustainable sources. Of the liquids, however, transport use accounts for more than half (51%), with the remainder going to industry (32%), residential and commercial (11%) and power generation (6%). The residential and commercial share is mainly accounted for by oil-fired central heating, and the small power generation share by gas turbines running to meet peak loads. It follows that the transport sector share of the world energy market is just over half of 37%, in other words some 19% or just under one-fifth of the total. It should also be borne in mind that the transport sector is itself divided into light-duty vehicles (privately-owned passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles), heavy-duty vehicles, and other transport applications (aircraft, ships and diesel railway engines). The light-duty and heavy-duty sub-sectors take about 40% each, and...