Fuel

Leaded gasoline has been banned in the U.S. for decades but was still used in other parts of the world. Less than 20 years ago, 117 countries still used leaded gas.

Planet Positive

Leaded Gasoline Use in Vehicles Has Now Officially Ended Worldwide

A refinery in Algeria used the world's last stockpile of the fuel

A new chemical process uses an iron-based catalyst to turn carbon dioxide into jet fuel. So far the process has only been proven effective in lab settings, but if researchers can scale it up it could lessen the climate impact of air travel.

New Research

Scientists Use Iron to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Jet Fuel

If the chemical reaction at the heart of the process can be scaled up, it could help reduce the carbon footprint of air travel

Why Aren't There Electric Airplanes Yet? It Comes Down to Batteries.

Batteries need to get lighter and more efficient before we use them to power energy-guzzling airplanes

FOG (fats, oils and greases) in various stages of treatment

Turning Fatbergs Into Biofuel

Researchers have developed a new method for recycling greasy sewer blockages into green fuel

Future of Energy

Could Giant "Solar Rigs" Floating On the Ocean Convert Seawater To Hydrogen Fuel?

Scientists at Columbia University have designed a device that could make the process economically viable

Future of Energy

Greek Yogurt Fuels Your Morning...And Your Plane?

Researchers have developed a method for turning yogurt whey into bio-oil, which could potentially be processed into biofuel for planes

Ask Smithsonian

Why Do So Many Train Stations Have the Same Name?

You asked, we answered

It seems that it’s only a matter of time before we have the technology for switchgrass, shown here, to replace corn as a feedstock for ethanol.

Future of Energy

The Next Generation of Biofuels Could Come From These Five Crops

Researchers are currently developing biofuels from these abundant species, which require relatively little land, water and fertilizer

Birth weights declined near the Paradise Fossil Plant in Kentucky during the 1980s.

New Research

Coal-Fueled Power Plants Linked to Lower Birth Weights in Tennessee Valley

When nuclear power plants pressed pause, coal stepped in—and birth weights began to decline

Put on your sunglasses—when in action, this artificial sun is 10,000 times brighter than the usual solar radiation here on Earth.

Cool Finds

This New Man-Made Sun Is 10,000 Times More Intense Than Sunlight on Earth

It’s a bright idea that just might help humans create solar fuel

Fulcrum BioEnergy converts household trash into biofuel for airplanes.

Future of Energy

Could Garbage Fuel Airplanes?

Fulcrum BioEnergy wants to divert trash from landfills and create cheap green energy

The process involves speeding up the fermentation of wood sugars. The resulting alcohol is then converted into jet fuel.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Could Wood Scraps Fuel Planes?

Alaska Airlines powered a cross-country commercial flight using a new biofuel derived from wood waste

A coal power plant in Mehrum, Germany.

Future of Energy

Scientists Stumble on a New Way to Tackle Carbon Emissions: Turn It Into Alcohol

A surprising new use for nanotechnology essentially reverses combustion

The Innovative Spirit fy17

When the Inventor of the Diesel Engine Disappeared

Rudolf Diesel’s fate is still intriguing to this day

Future of Energy

Tofu Power and Other Cool New Alternative Energy Sources

From fueling homes with tofu wastewater to lighting up bathrooms with the power of pee, these are some of the most unusual, hyperlocal fuel sources

Future of Energy

Five Tech Innovations That Can Keep Your Car From Burning So Much Gas

Yes, gas is cheap, but car makers are still facing ambitious goals to make vehicles way more fuel efficient

New Research

The Secret to Better Biofuels May Lie in Panda Poop

Microbes in the panda’s guts might help make biofuels cheaper

For years now, the U.S. Navy has been looking for a way to fuel fighter jets aboard aircraft carriers out in the open ocean without having to rely on refueling ships.

Fuel from Seawater? What's the Catch?

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory recently flew a model plane using a liquid hydrocarbon fuel they sourced from the ocean

One third of an airline's operating costs go to fuel.

Holy Smokes! Tobacco May Fuel Planes in the Future

The seeds from a new type of tobacco plant grown in South Africa release an oil that can be made into biofuel

Screenshot of fire burning in space.

Zero-G Fire Pulses Like a Jellyfish on the Space Station

Balls of fire burning in low gravity could help scientists create cleaner, more efficient engine fuels

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