I think that Pickens’ scheme (or plan if you prefer) has more to do with making money for Pickens than anything else.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that it may be a mistake to assume that altruism is the cause of his spending many millions of dollars on what seem like “public service commercials” for the common good.
It seems sound that since some applications, for example vehicles, are restricted in their choice of energy sources – for example gasoline, diesel, or natural gas; but not coal, nuclear, wind, solar, or hydroelectric – while power plants can use any of these things and therefore it doesn’t make the most sense to burn up in powerplants fuels suitable for vehicles.
On that line of thinking, a clean coal-fired power plant, or Pickens would say a wind farm owned by him, would make more sense than a natural-gas fired plant. The saved natural gas could be used in vehicles, which in turn would lessen oil consumption.
OK so far.
But as for trying to make this take off, well, the thing is this conversion has been around a long time and no one who wants it should have any trouble finding it and having it done.
It’s just that people do not find it worth doing, for themselves, when making their own decisions.
Improving the infrastructure might change that somewhat.
But ultimately, so far, natural gas as a fuel source for vehicles has in practice been shown to be not what people find best for themselves. Or 99% of people don’t, anyway.
I think an interesting and relevant question is, based on the amount of natural gas that could be available as well as on what could believably be expected as a best case for consumer acceptable, what’s the highest percentage of vehicles that could potentially be using it?
If the answer is, for example, no more than 10%, then there can probably NEVER be an infrastructure providing natural gas at anywhere near as many locations as is the case for gasoline. If every gas station installed natural gas tanks and pumps, the business on average could then be no more than 10% of what gasoline is, and it’s hard to imagine that the cost of providing this could be worth doing. More likely only 10% or maybe 20% of stations might have it. But if that’s the case, then very many people won’t want a natural gas vehicle because of fear of being unable to find a station when running low.
Another question is, Is there affordable equipment that allows refilling one’s natural gas vehicle at home, if the home is provided with natural gas?
If so that could make the idea a lot more practical. But I have no idea if that’s the case.