Methods of coal liquefaction

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Methods of coal liquefaction

Methods of coal liquefaction have been available since the beginning of
the last century, but the cost has caused us to search for more
effective new processes, explains Matthias W. Haenel. Coal is a
complicated, difficult to analyze mixture of organic components. In
what is called the Bergius process for direct coal liquefaction, the
coal is treated with hydrogen under pressure (>30 MPa) at 450 °C in
the presence of a solvent and an iron oxide catalyst. The activity of
this catalyst is low, however, because the solid iron oxide cannot
enter the macromolecular network structure of the insoluble coal.
Semianthracite coal, which only contains a small amount of volatile
components, cannot be converted by this process at all. Haenel and his
team hoped that a soluble catalyst would serve them better.

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