Science & Tech

Could steam-powered vehicles help us reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere?

With the growing severity and frequency of storms, heat waves and wildfires, and the other dangers from climate change, there are many reasons to be concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Scientists have shown that humanity’s addiction to burning fossil fuels is causing this problem, which means it’s time to kick that habit.

Because transportation generates more than one-fourth of the CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels, slashing CO2 emissions requires phasing out vehicles powered by gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

Steam powered many of the early automobiles sold around 1900. Could the same technology play a role again?

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The 'Stanley Steamer'

The steam-powered car became possible once gasoline and diesel oil replaced wood and coal for the powering of engines.

Inventors Francis and Freelan Stanley, twin brothers, became automaking pioneers after they improved photographic technology. In 1898 and 1899, they were selling more vehicles than any other early automaker, and their steam-powered “Rocket Racer” set a speed record in 1906.

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