England Now Has Gasoline Made from Coal (Feb, 1934)

England Now Has Gasoline Made from Coal

British motorists may now enjoy the novelty of buying gasoline made from coal, which has just been placed on public sale. The event marks the beginning of a great chemical industry by which England hopes to put 65,000 men to work and to end her dependence upon imported petroleum. A monster plant now rising at Billingham-on-Tees will transform 1,000 tons of coal daily into the synthetic fuel, using a process already in successful operation in a smaller experimental plant at the same site. In this process, known as hydrogenation, powdered coal is mixed with heavy oil and the resulting paste is fed, with hydrogen gas, to a converter. The mixture undergoes a chemical transformation under tremendous heat and pressure, yielding a mixture of hydrocarbons from which pure gasoline is recovered by distillation. Another of the products is Diesel oil, which may also be changed into gasoline by an additional conversion treatment with hydrogen. Both the hydrogen and heavy oil used in the process are obtained in the course of producing the gasoline, leaving coal as the chief raw material required. Results of production indicate that approximately a gallon of gasoline may be obtained from twenty-four pounds of coal, and the large-scale plant under construction should show an output of 80,000 gallons of gasoline a day.

8 comments
  1. Wayne from Jeremiah Films says: July 21, 200810:53 pm

    I’ve linked to your article from this post McCain vs Obama on Gas and Oil … Maybe not exactly a perfect match in being directly related. But, if you look at the big picture, the use of coal is part of the big picture, and we have known how to use coal … Plus I like your article because it points out without even trying that we have known how to for some time.

  2. ratpack7 says: July 21, 200811:22 pm

    twenty-four pounds of coal mixed with oil and hydrogen sounds like its not very green to me.

  3. ratpack7 says: July 21, 200811:22 pm

    BTW thats for approximately one gallon of gasoline

  4. Tracy B. says: July 22, 200812:46 pm

    We have been able to synthesize motor fuels for some time, the problem is that there are certain industries that would be threatened if we make the switch.

  5. ratpack7 says: July 22, 20084:21 pm

    to Tracy B
    the reason its not done is it takes 24 pounds of coal plus oil to get a gallon of gas. I hate to tell you this but the same people own the coal and the oil and the natural gas. If it was feasible/cost effective it would have been done years ago.
    Think about it if they could sell you a product they would. They wouldn’t hold one back to make more money on the other they would just sell you both and make money on both.
    Energy company’s are fighting to come up with the new technologies first so they can be the first to sell it to you, There not holding anything back. The first cars where electric and there where electric cars in the 70s no one bought them so they quit making them. Consumers are not willing to pay more thats what is holding back alternative fuels Not the oil company’s.

  6. JMyint says: July 23, 20088:29 pm

    Something like this (or one of the many other synthetic gasoline recipes) might start becoming atractive and economically viable once fuel made from petroleum reaches $11 per gallon.

  7. Peter says: July 25, 20085:51 pm

    The USAF is working on a plant to do exactly this right now.
    Also much of the gas in South Africa is produced this way.

  8. Alexie says: August 8, 20082:14 pm

    Hello people, this is 1934!

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