GE is moving beyond electricity and is now looking to become a major player in the natural gas industry by acquiring Lufkin for $3.3 billion dollars. In 2011, GE started their move toward natural gas when acquired Wood Group’s well division support. Both companies offer technology known as artificial lifts to bring oil or gas up to the surface for use by industry. GE apparently is looking to buy up major technology groups that bring hydrocarbon fuels to the surface for use by industry and become a major player in the natural gas industry according to these more recent business acquisitions. GE is constantly on the move to branch out to new technology, whether it be in medicine or in other areas, and has moved well past it’s early days as a popular light bulb manufacturer.
Natural gas has also been overlooked by the automobile industry as a replacement fuel for automobiles. Natural gas is both cheaper as well as cleaner than the normal gasolines that are currently being used, and new automobiles could easily be converted over for use as natural gas powered vehicles. GM has spent a great deal of money to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, but with many technological drawbacks such as sensitive membranes that are easily damaged by cold weather as well a extremely high cost per vehicle, hydrogen fuel cell automobiles don’t appear likely to appear on the market very soon if ever unless the technology can be improved as well as made much cheaper. Years ago, in the late 1950’s Ford even made a clay model of a nuclear powered car, which was quickly dismissed by nearly all automobile experts. But, sometimes even the idea of automobiles powered by small reactors is being given a little bit of thought these days.
A switch to new cars running as hybrid vehicles that burn natural gas as well as the electrical backup would not only improve the environment, but could help to move the U.S. toward more energy independence as well. So far, natural gas has been an overlooked fuel source that’s both cheap and abundant that could power automobiles of the future, saving motorists money on one hand, while serving national security goals of energy independence. With tougher CAFE(corporate average fuel efficiency) standards set for future years, more use of natural gas in automobiles could be a major help to Detroit.