Now that gas prices have ‘normalized’ (and oil companies are making extreme profits) to inflation-adjusted prices, everyone’s in shock. I’m in shock. $3.09 for a gallon of gas up here!
The good news, if there is good news about this, is that such grumbling by the people gets some others to really investigate alternative fuels. And one big fuel source that’s gone untapped is… coal!
Yes, coal. Shovel it into your steam-driven SUV and drive off.
Or, maybe, use the Fischer-Tropsch process to convert coal into gasoline.
Back in WWII, those industrious Germans had so much coal they had to keep it in hefty bags (thank you Ice-T). Not to mention the flow of oil from external sources was being choked off by the Allies. Fischer and Tropsch devised a method to transform the coal into synthetic fuel. It was brilliant.But, the war ended, and everyone headed back to oil. Why? It’s cheap. It’s really cheap. Considering the energy produced by one gallon of gasoline, there was no reason to use the Fischer-Tropsch process as it was labor-intensive and costly.
Well, guess what. Now that oil is floating around $60 a barrel (thanks Jon), enterprising individuals are attempting to use our naturally-abundant coal resources to make synthetic gasoline.
The biggest stumbling block is the Goracle. Fischer-Tropsch takes dirty, dirty coal and makes carbon dioxide when you burn it, as oil or coal. So the AGW folks are going to be all up in our grill about burning fossil fuels, even thought this would have a dramatic impact on the amount of fuel we use from other countries. Although these same enterprising individuals are thinking about how to capture CO2 emission from power plants and recycling it.
So don’t write off coal as a fuel. Just because it’s a rock doesn’t mean we can’t get oil from it.