Energy Collective blog power policy climate - the conversation happens here

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Engineer-Poet Tackles Coal-to-Liquids

Well, since I have been too busy these past few weeks to do any good analysis recently, I'll refer you all to an excellent example of what a little bit of simple math can do (ok, more than a little bit, but it's still nothing more complicated than multiplication and division): the Engineer-Poet, over at the Ergosphere recently took aim at Coal-to-Liquids projects, using some back-of-the-envelope math to illustrate how those pushing CTL and citing our vast coal reserves as a solution to our energy insecurity are leading us down the wrong path.

Head here for the full story, but as usual, E-P's analysis is pretty dead on:

"If we are looking for good investments in America's future, batteries look like our best bet. The sign for Fischer-Tropsch is pointing down the road to ruin."
Now, if only the folks in charge would hire a young staffer for minimum wage to surf through the energy blogosphere for some good ideas. What is it going to take for the politicians, businessmen and policy wonks to realize that electrification of transportation - i.e., plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles - are the way to go. We all remember the incredible potential of plug-ins, don't we...


Heiko said...

No matter whether it's ethanol or CTL, the analysis will always be the same for E-P. Batteries are great, electricity is cheap and efficient and so they'll beat anything else.

But, that pre-supposes that batteries are in fact up to the job, and if they were, how come that no major auto manufacturer sells plug-in's in $7 per gallon Europe ($7 per gallon is at 42 gallons per barrel, $294 per barrel)?

I am highly skeptical that batteries are up to the job. I suspect that lithium ion batteries are some combination of being too expensive, too hazardous and unable to cope with frequent heavy discharge over a ten year lifetime.

Engineer-Poet said...

I'll change my tune when the facts change.  Right now, the relative efficiency of combined-cycle plants compared to Otto-cycle engines makes electric one of the best options.  The new nanoparticle Li-ion cells have cycle and calendar lives far beyond today's tech; even if they aren't ready, we could go with NiMH until they are.

Not that I don't think zinc-air fuel cells and direct-carbon fuel cells don't have lots of potential.

Heiko said...


I suppose I am quite bad, first asking for more analysis, and then moaning about the analysis ... anyways, you had asked for suggestions, and I think your blog is a lot more professional than mine (though I've got plenty of analysis, my structure isn't great, I post irregularly and I tend to lose myself in detail, and therefore probably most of my readers).


the big question is the state of battery technology.

Think about this example:

A breeder is much more efficient at using uranium than standard nuclear power plants. I've seen people point out that the fuel costs of a breeder run in fractions of a cent per gallon of gasoline equivalent. Now what would you conclude from that?

Jesse Jenkins said...

I'm not as skeptical as you are, Heiko, about Li-ion being up for the job. Based on my research, it seems like the hold-up has been that there are a few cost and technical hurdles to be crossed, and that until recently, there wasn't much of a business case for pouring the money into batteries needed to cross these hurdles.

(And remember, the technical and cost hurdles are far lower for batteries than for fuel cells, and look at how much money and hope/hype we've devoted to them ... and for what, a crap partial solution that could even make things worse?!)

The mass deployment of electric drive components in hybrid-electric vehicles (the grid-independent variety) has greatly improved the business case for plug-ins, as the only thing that needs to be developed is high energy capacity batteries. All the other electric components have already been developed for grid-independent hybrids and supply chains have been secured by most major auto manufacturers.

Also, remember that the battery life issue is even less of an issue in plug-ins because smaller batteries in hybrids go through more cycles than larger PHEV batteries, and cycle life is what is important for cell life.

I'd encourage you to take a look at this study: Advanced Batteries for Electric-Drive Vehicles from EPRI (May 2004). It's slightly old now, but a good analysis of where batteries are (were) at, both Li-ion and NiMH, for potential use in HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs.

They conclude that: NiMH batteries are ready, Li-ion are on the cusp (and some manufacturers are probably ready), both have sufficienct cycle life for one battery pack per vehicle's useful lifetime (150,000 miles/10 years), PHEVs have reached lifetime cost parity with traditional ICEs (and even save money over their lifetime) even at 2004 gas prices, etc.

I think we are on the vurge of seeing commercial PHEVs, and I imagine that once consumers realize the convenience, and lower fuel costs, of pluging in their cars at home (and without the inconvenience of limited range that has hamstrung most attempts at EVs), more and more consumers will flock to PHEVs and they will take off like HEVs did.

Now, that process can be sped along by a concerted effort from our political and economic leaders who, as EP and I have both been saying for a while now, need to realize that batteries and the electrification of transport looks like by far the most promising option we've got to both mitigating GHG emissions and helping to slash oil imports.

We need investment from the Vinod Kholsas of the world, we need public-private partnerships and research dollars from our governmental leaders, and we need key public figures making the case that plug-ins and EVs are the path forwards towards a sustainable energy future, just as they have used their soapboxes to (mis)lead us to think that hydrogen or ethanol are the way to go

Anonymous said...

I have reservations about what this comparison really means. In the first place, coal to liquid conversion can just stand on it's own. We will always use some liquid fuels and at the time these can be more cheaply produced from coal or oil tar sands than from wells, we will convert to that source. If oil doesn't increase in price, we don't need the alternate sources. As I understand the economics, a sustained $3/gallon gasoline price will support tar sand production. Coal to gas is probably only a little higher.

I see this type of analysis as unnecessary. We won't make public policy forcing production of one type of car or another. Hybrids or electric cars will penetrate the market when the gasoline price is high enough to make them the clear (not marginal) economic choice.

Some of the input and basis of this assessment is suspect. The average coal energy value in this country is 20 mmbtu/ton, not 25. I think the base article referred to barrels of product, not gasoline or diesel. These fuels have yeilds of about half the crude oil input (with other lower quality byproducts available). In looking at economics, you have to look at the entire hybrid system, not just the battery. The cost of the total system is probably over twice the battery cost. The assumption of going from 22 to 44 mpg seems questionable. I don't think any hybrid has exhibited real world doubling of gas mileage and there is no experience base to estimate what plug-ins could achieve. The electricity prices quoted are incorrect for endusers. 4 cents/kw for wind is a pipe dream. The nuclear and coal (carbon tax loaded) numbers appear to not include distribution costs which are real for plug in technology. The concern about added rail lines for coal liquification is not valid. Any proposed large plants would almost certainly be mine-mouth.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we don't see interest in batteries / physical energy.. and a push for hydrogen... because the big oil interests see hydrogen as something they can do & provide & thereby stay relevant.

Certainly in the US, big oil dominates politics. Perhaps also in the EU & Japan?

One idea for getting big oil behind physical energy / batteries:

All batteries for electric cars can come in universally sized, hot-swappable containers. Service stations would charge up batteries for quick changing -- pit stop style. sure they are heavy.. a robot arm or something can do the switching.

Gas companies could charge the gas rates that people are used to in exchange for the convenience of "instant" charging, cost of battery cycle, and making sure that batteries are up to snuff. Internal charging counters / analyzers could keep track of battery performance / need for recycling. In this way batteries would be recycled as well.

One big trouble with PHEV is that you have to plug them into something! In suburbia this works. In dense urban environments.. you are lucky to find a parking place! Then where do you plug your car in? Every street would need to be equipped with a charging station for every 20 feet of road.

Charging stations can be at work.. easier to install into, but now you are charing during the day & competing with everyone's A/C, computer, etc.

Central "charging" stations can be hooked up the "low priority" electricity... that is, electricity that has not been stablized for continual use -- this can be energy directly from deep offshore windfarms. Central computers from the charging stations can make "requests" for energy. once enough orders have been requested... if flucuating energy is not meeting demand, then other energy sources can be funnelled in. Something like this.

sorry if this idea has been said before... i haven't come across it in persistent surfing.

BTW.. your site rocks!


Heiko said...

Lots of negativity in the above article, but the key points seem quite convincing to me.

Toyota believes that plug-in hybrids are not commercially or technologically viable with current battery technology.

They say that nickel metal hydride can be made to last through careful battery management. The batteries are never discharged to less than 50% of capacity and never charged to more than 80%.

They are also only sized to cope with 40 mph.

Lithium ion batteries will wear out, if always fully discharged, and they must be kept cool. From a wikipedia article on lithium ion batteries I gather that high temperatures absolutely kill battery life for lithium ion batteries.

I think there's a lot of research into batteries motivated by a variety of commercial applications. These include back-up (as an alternative or in addition to Diesel generators) and a variety of appliances, from cellphones and laptops to electric forklift trucks. I therefore find it hard to swallow the argument that no research is getting done and if we only put in a minor amount of government funding, we'd be guaranteed wonderful batteries in no time.

EPRI seems to have a clear bias in favour of plug-in hybrids and the way I read their report they are projecting improvements they believe are "likely".

You won't find it hard to locate a report on fuel cells projecting improvements that would make hydrogen appear a good choice ...

My opinion is, there are lots of possible technological developments. We don't know which technology or combination of technologies will prove best.

It's all fine and good for E-P to sing the praises of plug-ins, but he shouldn't use them to try to shut down research on other alternatives, because he falsely believes plug-ins are a sure fire bet.

Anonymous said...

Several battery advancements recently...



MIT nanotube ultracapacitors

Government money could go a long way to helping out nanotech -- a very young field with much potential.

How much potential for nanotech?

Just about every renewable energy endgame requires nanotech to work:

* ultra cheap nanodot / rod solar cells
* nanotube ultracapacitor

Cheap, mass produced versions of those two would put us into a whole different world.

Nice extras:
* improved method for desalination
* complicated nanoparticle mechanisms to mechanically & more efficiently reproduce photosynthesis.

This is where we need way more money for science. In Europe, Japan, and the US.


Heiko said...

Honda's view:

"Before PHEVs can be viable, however, there are a number of technology, consumer acceptance, environmental and cost issues that still need to be addressed, including:

* The extra batteries add 175 to 500 pounds to the vehicle, which decreases performance. Also, it is difficult to find space for the extra batteries without detracting from the utility of the vehicle, even if ultracapacitors are utilized. Systems to plug the vehicle in to the electric grid must be safe and easy to use. Performance must be preserved to a level that meets consumer expectations, if the technology is to have an end market.

* Energy storage is a significant hurdle. Although current hybrid vehicles have relatively small NiMH battery packs, the battery pack is still the single largest cost of the hybrid system. Further, energy flow and operating temperatures in conventional hybrids are carefully monitored and controlled to ensure maximum battery life and reduce deterioration. PHEV battery packs must be many times larger, even with a short electric range.

German noted that PHEV battery packs are subjected to deeper discharge cycles during electric-only operation, much higher electrical loads and temperatures to maintain performance, and therefore more rapid deterioration. This may result in replacement of the battery pack at least once during the vehicle's life.

* Some are promoting lithium-ion battery or other technologies as the long-term solution. Yet despite the promise, durability has not been proven - compared to NiMH, they are more susceptible to damage, do not perform well in cold or hot environments and are more expensive. In effect, German summed up, lithium-ion batteries have not yet been shown to be sustainable in the range of temperatures and operating conditions experienced in the real world.

* German suggested an examination of the real-world cost-effectiveness challenges. He noted that at the recent SAE Government/Industry Meeting on May 10, the EPRI's Mark Duvall had stated that about 40 percent of the duty-cycle of a plug-in hybrid should be electric-only operation. For a typical vehicle lifetime of 150,000 miles, this means that about 60,000 miles will be accumulated while the battery charge is being depleted. For a vehicle with an all-electric range of 20 miles, this requires that the battery pack be able to tolerate 3,000 deep discharge cycles without significant energy or power storage deterioration.

He discussed the Toyota Prius as an example, which provides real-world fuel economy in the 45 to 50 mpg range. Using a conservative estimate of 45 mpg, the Prius will use 3,333 gallons of fuel in 150,000 miles if always operating on fuel. If 40 percent of the mileage on the Prius is in charge-depleting mode, as Duvall suggested, then the fuel savings is 1,333 gallons.

Even at $3 per gallon, the fuel savings for a plug-in vehicle like the Prius is only $4,000 over the average vehicle lifetime. After factoring in the electricity cost to recharge the battery pack, which would be at least $1,000, the net savings to the consumer is less than $3,000. If the battery pack needs replacing, the net benefit is further reduced if not eliminated. From a manufacturers' and customers' point of view, there is no business case unless fuel prices rises to substantially more than $3 per gallon, fuel shortages occur, plug-in hybrids are heavily subsidized, or there is a breakthrough in energy storage."

Jesse Jenkins said...

Keng wrote: "We won't make public policy forcing production of one type of car or another. Hybrids or electric cars will penetrate the market when the gasoline price is high enough to make them the clear (not marginal) economic choice."

While it's surely un-American to force one type of car or another, it sure seems like sensible forward looking public policy to adopt policy measures to encourage and incentivise the adoption of alternative transportation fuels and vehicles that will help secure our nation's economy, environment and security in the future, and that warrants the kind of analysis we try to do in the energy blogosphere.

If we want our leaders to actualy lead - i.e., to push us down a path to a sustainable, secure and domestic energy future - then we ought to consider exactly what the best way down that path looks like. It has been my contention, as well as E-Ps, that a path towards plug-in hybrids and electrification of transport (plus expansion of renewables in our electricity mix) makes the most sense.

I can't speak to your questions on inputs for E-P's analysis, as they are his inputs, not mine. Perhaps he will comment here, or perhaps you should bring this thread over to E-P's site.

Matt wrote: "One big trouble with PHEV is that you have to plug them into something! In suburbia this works. In dense urban environments.. you are lucky to find a parking place! Then where do you plug your car in? "

Matt, this is a valid concern for city-slickers in dense urban environments. However, JC over at After Gutenberg relayed news that "An April Opinion Research Corp survey of over 500 households showed that over 75% had heard of PHEVs; 55% thought they were a good idea, and almost 75% of respondents parked in a driveway, carport attached or unattached garage such that the park vehicles were accessible to an electric socket."

So it looks like for most folks (3/4rds of us), finding a place to plug-in won't be too much of a problem.

For urbanites, a) you should hopefully be able to walk/bike/bus/rail etc. to work, meaning parking/charging for the daily commute isn't as much of a problem; b) city parking structures or park-and-ride lots could install charging ports if plug-ins took off, for charging during the day while at work (they've already done this to a limited degree at park-and-rides in California for EV owners).

Still, developing a charging infrastructure will be a bit of an issue. However, contrast this with the infrastructure requirements for a hydrogen economy, and the charge infrastructure doesn't look like a too tricky problem to overcome. 'Hot swapping' or quick-charge filling stations might be a possible solution too.

Heiko, I'll try to read those articles when I get a chance. Thanks for the links. The challanges may be more difficult than I have thought, but I don't imagine they are insermountable, nor anywhere near as tough as the cost-reduction/technical issues pertaining to hydrogen, which Honda, GM, and others have spent plenty of money trying to tackle over the past 5-10 years. I don't quite understand the reluctance to embrace PHEVs as a possible future vehicle platform, as the big auto companies have not seemed to offer as much resistance to pressure to develop H2 FCVs, which are less promising and more challenging with a tougher business case, in my opinion.

Finally, Matt, I agree with you completely that dedicated funding of advanced nanotech-based energy solutions would be a smart move, particularly carbon-nanotube ultracaps, which I believe are probably the end-game for electric transport batteries.

Ultracaps solve many of the problems Heiko brought up with Li-ion batteries including long cycle life, no problems with cold-start conditions, compact and light-weight, safe, no issues with material availability (carbon is everywhere!), high power/rate of discharge/charge acceptance etc.

Anonymous said...

Keng wrote: "We won't make public policy forcing production of one type of car or another. Hybrids or electric cars will penetrate the market when the gasoline price is high enough to make them the clear (not marginal) economic choice."

To expand on other comments, I note that we already have public policy favoring particular solutions. Examples include subsidies of a couple $K for buyers of hybrids, or $25K for some buyers of Hummers; sweetheart deals for oil companies, administration touting of Hydrogen (largely a smokescreen for business as usual). The largest subsidies of all are the cost of externalities like pollution, GHG emission, and the cost of oil-related mideast military adventurism that are presently borne by the public. Energy issues are so interwoven with our lifestyles that there is no way they can be decoupled from politics. Since energy is "reality-based", it is at least somewhat insulated from the vicissitudes of "faith-based" politics. One might be tempted to believe that the "free market" would select the best path for society. This would probably be true if a free market existed, but without correcting the existing subsidies and unfunded externalities, it does not.

Heiko said...

Not that I agree with RMI's views on hydrogen, but it's still an interesting read.

That's what they've got to say on why batteries are no challenge to hydrogen:
c. We should improve batteries and increase the required electricity storage capacity (batteryelectric
driving range) of hybrid cars.

California has largely abandoned its mandate to introduce battery-electric cars because battery technology, as RMI predicted, was overtaken by hybrid technology, which will in turn be trumped by fuel cells. Battery-electric cars are a valid concept for niche markets, but (as Professor P.D. van der Koogh of the Delft University of Technology remarked) are “cars for carrying
mainly batteries — but not very far and not very fast, or else they would have to carry even more batteries.” Although batteries’ energy density, life, and cost can be considerably improved, it is
still probably easier to make a good fuel cell than a good battery, and the comparative advantage
of the technologies that compete with batteries is probably more likely to expand than to shrink.
Regulators that, like the California Air Resources Board, have rewarded automakers for increasing
the “zero-emission range” (battery capacity) of their hybrids are distorting car design in an
undesirable direction, increasing the car’s weight and cost in a way that doesn’t well serve their
strategic policy goals. However, such recent CARB concepts as requiring hybrids to have at least
8 kW of electric drive capacity and at least 60-volt traction motors are helpful, because they’ll
force real hybrid technology, rather than rewarding just a routine shift to 42-volt electrical systems
that permit the starter/alternator to provide a minor torque supplement

Anonymous said...

it is still probably easier to make a good fuel cell than a good battery

Five years ago I might have said that. Today, not so much. Depends how you define good? And if you bring ultracaps into the equation...

Robert Rapier said...

Should we ramp up CTL? No. Will we? Of course we will. If oil prices remain at a high level, and are forecast to remain at a high level, GTL and CTL plants will start to pop up. But I agree that our money would be much better spent elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

all this talk about future automobiles is great. lets start with compact flourescents, water heater insilation, digital thermostats. and lots of wind power.

lets also stop building pulverized coal plants -- force igcc designs or none at all.

cheap solar cells and ultra caps / great battery designs -or- electrochemical artificial "leaves" will save us all -- but we can get started now with the above.


Anonymous said...

Dear Watthead,

We have set up a Global Warming focus group in the inner suburbs of Sydney. The object of the group is to bring to people’s attention the issue of global warming, the prospects of renewable energy and in turn getting people thinking and doing something about global warming. I came across you site especially in reference to CTL. This is something I’m not that familiar with. I assume it’s just as polluting as petroleum. Am I correct in this assumption?

Heiko said...

Hi Paul,

easy question, so I'll take a stab, I am sure Jesse (also known as Watthead) won't mind.

Without carbon sequestration CTL will have a much larger carbon foot print than petroleum. With carbon sequestration it might be roughly similar.

Energy and hydrogen are required to transform the coal into liquids. Those could also be provided by nuclear power or renewables. If they are provided by coal, that'll mean something like twice the CO2 emissions of petroleum. Half would be amenable to sequestration, because that would occur in one place. CO2 produced on-board vehicles is very difficult to sequester.

(I don't like the word "climate skeptic", but I do believe that modest warming will be a net positive and I don't consider restrictions on CO2 appropriate at this stage, I also don't particularly like applying the word pollution to CO2, after all CO2 in small amounts is not poisonous to humans.)

Heiko said...

To prevent any misunderstandings, Jesse and me have very different views on the value of reducing CO2 emissions. We disagree amicably (and my preferred energy policy would actually lead to CO2 cuts compared to business as usual), but we very much disagree.

I do think he'll agree with the facts regarding CTL though.

Jesse Jenkins said...

Paul and Heiko: yes I do agree with Heiko on the facts about CTL and it's carbon footprint. It is certainly far more CO2 intensive than petroleum, absent sequestration.

As Heiko mentioned, we disagree on the urgency of climate change and the scale and nature of an appropriate response. I firmly believe that a concerted and proactive effort needs to be made to reduce global CO2 emissions, and especially emissions from developed countries (and again, especially from the United States) and that that effort must begin, well, yesterday.

I also firmly believe that the pressures of 'peak oil' (or 'plateau oil', or whatever else you want to call the end of cheap, conventional oil) provides another strong motivator to begin a rapid transition to alternative fuels that do not rely on petroleum.

In light of that view, I consider CTL to be entirely the wrong course of action. Yes, the United States has ample coal reserves and CTL may contribute to domestic energy security by offsetting petroleum imports and satisfy to some degree the 'peak oil' concern. But the CO2-intensity of CTL means that I consider it much less favorable than other options for transportation alternatives.

There are several much more promising alternatives that work to tackle both CO2 reductions and offset petroleum consumption: plug-in hybrids and EVs, cellulosic ethanol, biomass-to-liquids, and of course, simple fuel efficiency improvements (which should be our first action item).

Investing in infrastructure for an alternative fuel that can only solve one of our two pressing motivations is simply poor planning and bad public policy. As discussed above, we can't declare a winning alternative fuel by executive fiat, but we can enact smart policies that guide the market towards transportation fuels and technologies that not only help reduce our petroleum consumption, but also help slash our greenhouse gas emissions.

At this point, I don't think we can afford too many false steps, and I think that is what CTL is.

Jesse Jenkins said...

And thanks to everyone for the lively discussion. I appreciate all the comments and views.

Anonymous said...

I left a comment on "thefraserdomain" regarding this topic, basically asking why turning coal into manufactured gas wouldn't suffice their objective. After all, can't our devices change some to accommodate our fuel? Many of you make a good argument for not doing anything but generating electricity. My guess is that this coal is so loaded with sulfur that it is going to be processed so much that its going to be just one more step to convert it to a fluid of some type.

I have heard of an application for engines running on hydrogen which perhaps makes sense. In certain environments where vehicles are often operated indoors like airports, it might be nice not to worry about CO poisoning (and lets assume for some reason that DC cars aren't a viable solution for some reason - my guess is there would be a better solution like compressed air powered vehicles). So perhaps - perhaps we will use hydrogen as a fuel for safety reasons but with a considerable energy cost.

I do think ethanol is over sold and there are others in Iowa that think so too (to me its more about reducing emissions but perhaps someone will educate me that that is a myth also). Actually I was surprised how many shared that view; but, that was a informal poll taken among biodiesel enthusiasts. Of course it is easy to see that the ethanol subsidy takes resources that could now be devoted to biodiesel research.

Perhaps I have said enough to show my leanings. But I am hoping someone here would have time to visit my site. From my home page look for the link that says, "How to Reduce Demand for Crude Oil by 96% in the Transportation Sector". I realize that number may be low even for an optimist. In any case we may not make much head way unless we suggest more reasons to conserve energy than global warning and national security. I'll give one but could be pressed to give more: New Jobs! You are not the crowd that needs to hear this, but couldn't we (US) start conserving before we agree on the reason to do so.

Back to the numbers now. I don't like to over sell things. So of the 15 terms that I used to get the 10 Year Crude Demand Projections, I most wonder about the value used for hybrids. Right now I am estimating that in ten years a car that uses a hybrid will use just 60% of what a similar car would if it had a conventional power train (by the way in my book if the vehicle had two conventional engines and one could be turned off then it would pass as a hybrid).

Thanks! - Hopefully I'll be able to post again and be welcomed to do.

Anonymous said...


96% is a pretty big claim. What's the bit at the top do in the diagram on your site.

Heiko said...


well, if demand for travel is reduced by a factor 4 (car pooling, moving closer to work and so forth) and fuel economy raised by factor 4, with everybody driving smallers cars that diesel hybrids (80 mpg instead of 20 mpg), then demand is already down by 94% or so and your estimate for alternative fuels then seems pretty conservative. Surely ethanol and biodiesel can handle 6% of present demand.

Anonymous said...


I confess it was me who improperly visited your web site - after all how else could I have found the following header "This is the blog site for people who live in Sydney's Inner-West who are concerned about Global Warming". I added the site to my favorites and read a post before I realized I was trespassing. If I could return I would.

Anyway, thanks for visiting my site ( The '96%' obviously would be low for Australia, since you need to be a country that waists allot of fuel to begin with so you can really make big claims later about how much weight you lost so to speak.

The goal of calculating a figure like this is to show how conservation practices can add up to significant energy savings. In the US it seems as though the conversation is taboo. The number 96 was calculated using estimates of 15 factors (I am open to adding more if any have been forgotten). One of the factors represents the percent use of renewable fuels which I assumed to be 25 percent. Not a big target, if demand could be reduced.

However, in the next couple of weeks I might change the hybrid factor up and the refinery factor up since I read on some blog that the percent of heavy crude is most likely to increase. And to me that means that refinery efficiency will likely increase.

But if I wanted to stick with the 96 figure I could change the renewable factor up to lets say 33 percent.

Everyone is welcome to question or make suggestions on any of the numbers used in calculating - "Percent Demand for Crude Oil in Ten years over current usage in the Transportation Sector if conservation becomes a policy". Yes, I changed the words a little here.

Paul, as you have noticed I have gotten too long already so would it be possible for you to email me (using my address found on the bottom of most of my web pages) and ask your question again in a different way since I didn't understand it the first time.

Thanks Heiko - just noticed your post

Anonymous said...


No problem with visiting our blog, it's an open forum. You can even write something if you like for it. The committee seems to be slack in putting stuff up. I've half written an article on CTL. Not yet posted. I'm writing something on USG. There is a process in Aussie that is soon to be tried out called Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). This is a process through which coal is converted in-situ to a syngas that can be used as a fuel for power generation. Quite simply air is pumped into the ground and a Coal gases comes out of an adjacent whole.


Anonymous said...


And if I use the email listed on the site would the message get to you eventually?

Mark of Invent Horsepower

Anonymous said...

Coal to liquids was needed only by desperate regimes. The analysis is simple. Coal is very difficient in hydrogen and the hydrogen for the syngas comes from water (steam). Actual it is more like steam gasification than coal gasification. The FT reaction then wastes half of the hydrogen that was difficult to get in making byproduct water. FT is a stupid way to use 2 to 1 synthesis gas (H2 to CO) if you have this synthesis gas go for methanol and incorpotate all the hydrogen in the fuel. Sasol emits over 50 pounds of CO2 at the synfuel plant for each gallon of gasoline produced. This is a force fit of an ancient technology. Stay informed go to