About Coal Liquefaction
Coal liquefaction is the conversion of coal into a synthetic oil in order to supplement natural sources of petroleum. It is an attractive technology because 1) it is well developed and thus could be implemented fairly rapidly and 2) there are relatively large quantities of coal reserves. Coal liquefaction is seen by many as a necessary technology to replace other sources of transportation fuels before production of biofuels or fuel cells can be ramped up to meet the gap left by declining supplies of oil. Hirsch, SAIC, 2/05, p56 found that coal liquefaction and heavy oil refining were potentially the two largest sources of transportation fuels that could be used to mitigate the peaking of conventional oil. The Hirsch report is the most comprehensive and authoritative analysis of mitigating peak oil.