Liquid Fuels from Coal: From R & D to an Industry

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Science  10 Feb 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4329, pp. 619-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4329.619


On the basis of current U.S. oil imports, room now exists for a U.S. coal liquids industry. Unfortunately, technology is not available which can produce coal liquids at a price competitive with imported oil. Direct liquefaction technology is under development, but the prospects are that the technology will not be economic at the time the pioneer commercial plant should be constructed to provide the foundation for a possible coal liquids industry in the 1990's. Government support of coal liquefaction R & D has created the conditions that make possible the development of the technology, and probably government incentives for pioneer plants will be needed. With the proper incentives pioneer plants will lead to lower costs, and this, plus rising prices, will create the conditions necessary to develop a multiplant industry.