I'm for it. Not only can it help move us away from petroleum but methane can be produced by using animal and plant waste. There is also solar methane. From that you can also then make methanol for liquid fuel uses.There's a lot of buzz going around about the T. Boone Pickens plan. My surface research shows it pushes major wind electric contruction. Hip Hip Hooray! But also a major push for natural gas cars. Not sure about that one. Any insight?
My only concerns are:I'm for it. Not only can it help move us away from petroleum but methane can be produced by using animal and plant waste. There is also solar methane. From that you can also then make methanol for liquid fuel uses.
I'm guessing the best way to go is convert fleets first because the infrastructure investments are very low. Busses, garbage trucks, short haul, etc. would be good candidates. Home gas stations can also be a market. This can start moving the market. If things continue to work out favorably the market can continue to expand as fast as we need. Check out the beautiful Honda Civic NGV:
and the cool home gas station:
My only concerns are:
1. I think the best approach is to work toward making the ICE obsolete ASAP. Any car that can run on compressed gas can possibly be retrofitted to also run on gasoline. The end result, Al Qaeda keeps getting paid because we aren't making their only commodity unneeded as a fuel. Plug-in electric and hydrogen cars will in a short time force the Al Qaeda trickle down economy into the camel dairy, date sugar and tourism industries. Of course, its better than gasoline but not the best option I don't think (if I'm right and compressed gas keeps the petroleum fuel market alive.
2. My suspicion is one of the key reasons we don't have hydrogen or electric cars already is the built-in obsolesces factor in a product that has metal against metal friction at 3000 rpm. If the car companies can make a product that will wear out and have you back in the show room every 3 to 5 years or make a product that will rust out before it wears out, which do you think they will focus on? From what I can tell natural gas cars run on a similar technology as traditional ICE cars that are designed to keep 40% profits in replacement parts rolling in and have you back to buy a new one sooner rather than later. I’d hate to get behind something that will only delay the necessary modernization of our surface transportation fleet.
I used to drive duel fuel NG/Gasoline cars back in the late 80's and early 90's. We had a number of them in the government fleet and from time to time I would get one, usually a Taurus, and drive it. The range of those on natural gas was about 40 miles, at which point it would switch over to gasoline. The natural gas seemed to have less energy and gave less passing and acceleration power than gasoline, but drivablity was good. Some of the later conversions would actually switch from NG to gasoline when the passing gear engaged and switch back once you got your foot out of it.There's a lot of buzz going around about the T. Boone Pickens plan. My surface research shows it pushes major wind electric contruction. Hip Hip Hooray! But also a major push for natural gas cars. Not sure about that one. Any insight?
NG cars are not a mainstream, but a Texas, solution.
The best transportation fuel medium is a liquid, and the best substitue is a flex fuel. Liquid refueling is much easier. The infrastructure is established for transporting and refueling using liquids. NG requires large tanks for equivalent range. I suspect Pickens, although well meaning, wants a solution that leverages the type of resources that are his strengths.
Brazil, China, and France have dictated that methanol is the transportation fuel of choice. Brazil has already converted 90% of vehicles to methanol. Both Obama 's and McCain's energy plans provide for a swift conversion to FFVs. At today's prices, it is 1/2 the cost of gasoline per equivalent energy.
Myth: It takes more gas to produce ethanol than it provides as a fuel. Easy to refute. Methanol is less expensive than gas.