I did some research, coming at wind from an optimistic viewpoint. Now I think it's another dead end. The basic problem is you have to back wind turbines with conventionally powered turbines because of the variability of the winds. Since you can't ramp conventional turbines up and down on a dime, they have to run all the time. Total contribution of wind to the grid (where it matters) ends up being very low. Unless you could store wind energy on a massive scale I can't see how it ends up contributing anywhere near 20% of the grid load.
CNG for cars is doable, but very problematic outside of fleet vehicals with dedicated refueling facilities. You have to compress the natural gas to something like 3000 psi to get enough of it in a small space to have usable range. Transferring gasses at these pressures quickly is not trivial. The best way is to have a system that refuels the CNG overnight in the garage, but those cost many thousand $$. And it's not like CNG is plentiful and/or cheap. The costs on that have skyrocked in the last few years.
Biodiesel OTOH looks very interesting. Jatropha and algae crops are only now being developed to maximize yields and already have very good returns. I suspect they will compete well against hydrocarbons for diesel and jet fuel in the future without government "help".
Originally Posted by Hulk
I do buy it. Maybe I'm just an optimist. If we make it a priority, and put some money and political will behind it, we can make it happen. More than any other country, Americans have the ability to make it happen when we decide that it needs to happen.
In 1962, JFK said this:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. That was in less than 7 years
, and they had to invent everything from scratch.
Unlike NASA in the 1960s, we've already invented wind farms, turbines, and CNG burning vehicles. If it takes 20 years to build a bunch of fuel stations for CNG, then that's because there's no profit in it. Think how quickly Compuserve, AOL and Prodigy built nationwide networks of dial-up centers back in the mid-90s. If there is money to be made, American ingenuity will kick into high gear. Nobody is as creative as we are at solving problems to make money. Nobody.
If T Boone Pickens is involved in it, there is money to be made. He's no fool. I don't buy him as an altruist -- he's a capitalist.
In summary, God bless America, and may we tell all the idiots in the world to keep their damn oil.
Man, I should run for office. Or be a preacher. Hallelujah, and pass the pale ale.