Last week the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) held a massive conference in Oxton Hill, Maryland to which President Clinton, Secretary Chu and even I spoke. More than 2500 people attended this premier event that marshals thought and action for energy technology breakthroughs.
My pick for the most important highlight of the conference was the new Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy, a $30 million initiative, designed to hasten commercialization high energy density tanks for CNG and low-cost home refueling stations. http://www.ngvglobal.com/ and see the February 24th postings.
With gasoline at $3.74, while natural gas fueling is at $1.50, and war with Iran a real possibility, accelerating the move from oil to gas and other substitutes for transportation should be the nation's most important energy task. The MOVE initiative seeks to do exactly that by finding energy storgage and fueling technology breakthroughs that lower the cost of CNG vehicles.
As of 2010, the US had just 112,000 CNG vehicles on the road. Using federal research dollars to tackle two of the biggest technology weaknesses in the CNG market is a smart use of funds that can play a role in putting millions of natural gas powered vehicles on our roads. MOVE plus passing the Natural Gas Act that is dying a long, slow death in the United States House of Representatives would really make the US serious about gas transportation.