I’m interested in realistic and practical fuel or power sources for vehicles (particularly military ones), where there are no fossil fuels available. The setting is 400 years in the future. The only hand-wavey bit is FTL travel to nearby star systems, to explore and colonise. Most of the planets discovered are lifeless rocks without liquid water, so they have no alien coalfields or alien oilfields to exploit.
My question is similar to this one but I’m interested in more than main battle tanks.
The types of places in the setting are:
- Mars. Colonised 350 years ago. Terraforming has begun, but you can’t get far in 350 years, so most of the settlements are domed cities, para-terraformed sections of canyon or burrowed into rock.
- Exoplanet X. Venus sized but without the runaway greenhouse effect. No liquid water because it is outside the Goldilocks zone – an orbit a bit further out than Mars’. No terraforming even attempted.
- Earth. All the fossil fuel sources worth exploiting have been found, extracted and used up. However, compared to other less hospitable planets, Earth folks can plant huge tracts of land with palm oil plantations for biodiesel, sugar cane for ethanol, etc. And they still have plenty fissionable & fusionable (is that a word?) material.
Any planet can have vats of microbes churning out interesting hydrocarbons - if that is genetically and biochemically feasible?
Ignore electricity generation UNLESS it relates to transport (e.g. charging batteries or electric trains). Just assume for everyday electricity needs there are both fission and fusion reactors all over the place, and green energy sources on planets which have the appropriate ingredients (such as oceans and moon for tidal power on Earth). But in a war situation powerlines may be down… the enemy may hold the power stations and be denying your bit of the national grid any power… or you might have to cross an empty area of the planet which wasn’t on the grid to start with…
The types of vehicles to consider power needs for are:
- Any and all planet-based military vehicles from infantry fighting vehicles to artillery to aircraft.
- And not exactly vehicles, but also consider self-propelled weapons which thus require their own power, e.g. missiles.
- Civilian city to city transport – by road, rail, air or sea.
- Surface to orbit transport (military and civilian)
What fuels or power sources are feasible and practical? Especially for the military.