We have been hearing a lot lately, about this country being addicted to oil, and how we need to start looking for alternative energy and break our demand for oil. The trucking industry, has to have oil to survive, or does it?
I have been doing some research lately into alternative energy, and every time I go and look I keep getting referred back to "The Pickens Plan". But, when I go and "try" to read the plan, I get a little frustrated, as I do not understand the information placed within "The Pickens Plan".
I know that it has something to do with three main "natural energies" we have in abundance, in the United States. We have the sun, wind, and natural gas, and we have a lot of it and the best part it cost us nothing to produce, as it is produced "naturally".
T. Boone Pickens, is a smart man, and a very wealthy man who has spent countless hours, and a LOT of his own MONEY to get this up and running. He see's the problems we are having in the United States, and has come up with "The Pickens Plan" to bail us out. I conducted an interview with one of his state directors of the Pickens Plan Grassroots network's.
Mike Johnston, is a state director for Pennsylvania for the Pickens Plan Grassroots network. Mike, has been an alternative energy advocate for about ten years and has a fairly extensive knowledge on hydrogen fuel in particular, mostly focused on the process of producing it from water. I would like to also mention that Mike is a Truck driver as well. You can follow him on twitter @enki09
I asked him if he could explain "The Pickens Plan" . I asked him a few questions and I am going to put them in this article, to maybe help you the reader to understand easier.
Q: "What exactly is The Pickens Plan, I have read the articles and watched the videos but, in simple terms explain what it will actually do?"
A: "It is part of a wider effort to establish a framework within which the green energy economy can evolve. Unlike many such efforts, Pickens was the first to point out the energy independence, and national security aspects of this issue which in the end, probably have shorter term significance than climate change, which is where everyone else was (and is) focused. The Pickens Plan advocates "anything American" as part of this transition and this is the best path toward energy independence. Essentially, it is a path to a greener, energy independent future which is more aware of the reality of the market in it's approach to achieving goals which are common to pretty much everyone these days."
Q: "How do I get involved in the Pickens Plan, and what, do I need to do?"
A: "Simply go to the pickens Website; http://www.pickensplan.com/ and click on the "community" tab. Sign up for an account, and participate to whatever extent you want. There are groups by state, and by congressional district, and specific area of interest to participate in. Right now, the Plan is asking members, to write letters to the editor of their local paper, and to their state, and federal representatives, supporting legislation which is associated with the plan such as the natural gas act, and the renewable energy standard, as well as the creation of a Green Bank which will LOAN money to alt energy companies to build infrastructure associated with green energy products such as transmission lines and the like."
Q: "What is wind energy,and is there only certain parts of the U.S. this will work?"
A: "Wind energy uses the force of wind blowing on the blades of a windmill to turn a generator. Various parts of the country is better or worse for wind (or solar for that matter). Here are maps of the country based on wind or soalr potential:
Q: "What do these renewable energy plans have to do with coal?"
A: "Wind and solar are somewhat intermittent power sources in most areas (although in some areas they are fairly constant) so I do not see us being able to move totally away from coal for a while. At the same time there are potentially new uses for coal which can be "gasified" to produce either synthetic natural gas or hydrogen for use as a vehicle or power plant fuel. The coal industry is building the Future Generation plants now to showcase this technology."
Q: "What does Natural Gas cost per gallon,and how readily is it available?"
A: "Right now the cost of natural gas is very low due to oversupply because of the vast new reserves of it which have been discovered in several areas of the US. In fact it is now too cheap to produce. Once demand picks up again though prices will soon increase enough to make it profitable to supply it again. Kind of silly to be importing so much expensive oil when we have such a huge supply of domestic fuel available, isn't it?
Daily prices on natural gas can be found here:
Q: "What vehicles can we use the Natural Gas in, and do we have to add something to our engines in order to use it?"
A: "Pretty much any vehicle can run on CNG. Of course you need a fuel storage and delivery system on the vehicle that is meant for this fuel. That is why it is easier to buy a vehicle meant to run on CNG from the factory rather than doing conversions on existing vehicles."
Q: "What is an estimated MPG on Natural Gas, compared to Gasoline or Diesel?"
A: "There are several factors to take into consideration with that but, this is a good site for answers: http://www.cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26
Q: "What benefits can The Pickens Plan offer Truckers?"
A: "A cleaner fuel which is domestic and not tied to international politics. If associated legislation is passed it will also offer additional financial incentives to make the switch. Since it is a cleaner burning fuel it will also make it easier to pass more stringent emissions requirements in many areas. From a purely financial perspective it is cheaper than diesel and will probably remain so even with increased demand."
Q: "What is this going to do, between the railroad, and Trucking?"
A: "Well, I pointed out the intermodal area as a good one for the introduction of CNG fuel because it is one where trucks can refuel at their home terminal and so won't require a national infrastructure to get off the ground. It is something that is evolving on it's own without CNG fuel so it is more or less just taking advantage of an existing area and making it better."
To read more, please click here