2990. ---------------. [RUSSELL, R. P.] Industrial Research and Its Importance to the South. Advisory Council, Southern Research Inst. Rept., 1946, 16 pp.
Paper presented at the annual meeting, Birmingham, Ala. In discussing the conversion of natural gas and coal into liquid fuels, it is remarked that the reason for placing so much emphasis on this field of research and development basically is not due to any fear of future oil shortage but to the cost of finding and producing oil. It has been stated that the oil industry expects to have as large proved reserves of crude oil in this country 20 yr. from now as it has today. In consequence of new developments demonstrated in large-scale pilot-plant operations, conversion of natural gas to gasoline already appears to be competitive with production of gasoline from petroleum. Largely because of the additional plant facilities required, the production cost of synthetic gasoline from coal is today slightly higher than the cost of gasoline from crude oil. For example, a plant to produce about 9,000 bbl. gasoline per day from coal, together with about 1,800 bbl. of diesel fuel or gas oil, would cost about $42,000,000. Sale of the nearly 40,000,000 cu. ft. per day of high-calorific-value gas at about $0.25 per 1,000 cu. ft. and allowance of suitable credit for the diesel oil and certain chemicals produced would give a final cost of gasoline from this plant, with coal at $2.50 per ton, of approximately $0.0725 per gal.; this figure does not include any return on the added investment cost of the plant. Even with a fair return on the greater investment, the average additional cost of synthetic gasoline to the American motorist should not exceed $0.10 per day. These new advances in the production of synthetic liquid fuels have been made possible by the development of fluid catalytic cracking. (See abs. 2344.)