TITLE: Synfuels from Coal Lessons: From South Africa.

AUTHOR: R. S. Thurston.

INST.  AUTHOR: Los Alamos Scientific Lab., NM.

SPONSOR: Department of Energy, Washington, DC.


PUB.  TYPE: Technical Report

PUB.  COUNTRY: United States

SOURCE: Department of Energy [DE],  Jul 80,  4p.


The most significant lessons provided by these developments at SASOL are the importance of long-range planning and the need for establishing a commercialized technology base in synfuels. These are necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources and can be accomplished with suitable cooperation between government and private industry and between agencies within the government. The Fischer-Tropsch process is not the only method for producing gasoline from coal, but so far it is the only one commercially proven. Another process, which produces gasoline from methanol, has been considered for commercialization. The government of New Zealand decided in December 1979 to build a commercial-size plant using its abundant natural gas as the feedstock in a natural gas to methanol to gasoline process. Because methanol can also be produced from gasified coal, this process may be an attractive option for the production of gasoline from coal in the United States. South Africa has demonstrated that a nation can respond quickly to a deteriorating energy situation by making a long-term commitment to the establishment of an alternative energy technology. Their commitment went beyond the planning, research, and pilot-plant stages. They built a commercial-size plant to develop the appropriate producion, marketing, and environmental expertise to use the alternative technology with confidence. For the United States to be prepared to bring an alternative energy technology on-line quickly, it too will have to make long-term commitments by building commercial-size plants. (ERA citation 05:035891)