Isn’t it about time we change the saying “The U.S. is working to become less dependent on foreign oil” to “The U.S. is less dependent on foreign oil.”
That may just delete a few words, but it changes the meaning 100%.
The first question to ask is if there is a true commitment to becoming less dependent on foreign oil. Right now, that answer is not clear. Let’s face it, alternative fuels would mean oil companies could take a huge financial hit, and right now, with their huge profits, they are helping support hundreds of thousands of people either directly or indirectly.
There are companies talking the talk and walking the walk in terms of providing solid ideas and potential innovations, but the bureaucracy and the obstruction is much like swimming upstream against a raging tsunami.
We have to look at whether we have the technology to overcome the dependence on foreign oil. Do we? Surely with the great minds we have in this country, we can come up with an idea for an alternative fuel.
Just look at couple of items to hit the news this week.
Coal could become a source for hydrogen in the near term that could power a fuel cell-based vehicle. "While some day we may be able to produce hydrogen by breaking up water molecules in association with the high-temperature heat from nuclear power reactors, or through renewable energy technologies, right now, the most cost-effective way to produce hydrogen is with coal," said Chris Shaddix, principal investigator for clean coal combustion at Sandia National Laboratories' Combustion Research Facility.
Experiments continue in an effort to optimize the combustion of coal to produce the most energy and the least possible pollution, Shaddix said. While traditional coal combustion produces harmful emissions, modern plants can meet environmental regulations for burning coal cleanly, Shaddix said. As the cost of competing fuels like natural gas continue to climb, burning clean coal becomes cost competitive.
Or look down on the farm as more companies are looking at biodiesel.
One major petroleum refiner, Motiva Enterprises LLC, is allowing the blending of the soy-based alternative with traditional motor fuel at its Dallas terminal.
Biodiesel is a biodegradable and nontoxic soybean derivative that a refiner can blend at any level with petroleum diesel.
Distribution Drive, a wholly owned subsidiary of Earth Biofuels Inc., is making inroads by being able to blend biodiesel at the Motiva terminal in Dallas.
The amount of biodiesel sold in the U.S. has grown from 500,000 gallons in 1999 to 75 million gallons in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. burns roughly 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year and 4 billion gallons of ethanol, a fuel additive derived from corn.
Those are just two examples. With the innovation and ingenuity in the industry, there is no way we should fall prey to sitting idly by watching gas prices continue to skyrocket.
What can we do? Talk to me.