The process of turning solid coal into gas sounds unbelievable. There are many benefits to the procedure, including being able to access the coal buried deep in the earth, 85 percent of which is inaccessible using current methods. However, the idea of turning gas to liquids seems even less plausible. Few people would believe that the solid coal one might encounter underground could be changed to liquid, let alone used to fuel our cars. Believe it or not, the gas to liquids method works, and it comes with many benefits.
The gas to liquids process creates clean fuel after going through underground coal gasification, or UCG, while it lies beneath the earth’s surface. The gas to liquids process is instrumental in the underground coal gasification procedure, as it converts the coal from a solid to synthesis gas, also called syngas. This is performed through a catalytic reaction, resulting in syngas that is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The final result of the gas to liquids process is diesel, chemical feedstocks, and naphtha.
The mechanics of the process are interesting, but most people are probably just interested in why we should give this technology a chance. Considering the attention paid by several countries to the gas to liquids procedure, one assumes there must be many advantages over our current method of obtaining fuel. The answer is that clearly we can’t put solid coal in our cars, so we must turn it to gas first. Natural gas is more expensive to move than oil, though, so that would not solve our problem. However, the liquid that results after the gas to liquids process is finished is easier to move than oil.
Furthermore, diesel standards are getting stricter when it comes to protecting the environment from harmful emissions. Today’s diesel cannot compete with the kind that could be made with coal after the gas to liquids process takes place. Clean fuel made from coal contains no toxins like sulfur, and has no smells. It could be blended with current diesel fuel to meet emissions standards, or it could be used on its own. Such benefits are just the start of advantages that the gas to liquids procedure affords us.
Another reason to encourage the use of gas to liquids is that the world’s supply of petroleum is running out. No matter what alternative to conventional oil we think of, it needs to be implemented as soon as possible. Gas to liquids has been around for years, and is poised to take the place of oil quickly due to the funds many companies have invested into the technology. We have plenty of coal that is not being used, since the majority of it cannot be touched through traditional mining methods. Using the natural resources that we have plenty of seems like a good idea, particularly when it is inexpensive and benefits the ecosystem.
The price of current oil production is clearly not conducive to offering inexpensive gas to consumers. Lowering the price to make fuel will lower the price consumers see at the pump, so cheaper gas benefits everyone. For this reason, even oil companies like ExxonMobil, BP, Conoco Phillips, Texaco, Shell, and more have investigated the gas to liquids process for so long that they plan to build plants at which it can take place. Such companies need to make a profit with their product, and they have seen that ability with clean fuels produced by the gas to liquids technology.
Not only can the gas to liquids process increase the contents of everyone’s wallet, but it can improve our conscience when it comes to improving the environment. Unlike some ideas to create cheaper fuel through an alternative method, gas to liquids is natural and will not harm the ecosystem. Everyone can breathe better knowing that this method of fueling our cars is not setting us back when it comes to eliminating harmful emissions. Instead, it will increase the quality and cleanliness of diesel, living up to the heightened standards recently set for clean fuel.