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Overview of coal-to-liquids: A historical perspective

National Energy Technology Laboratory

CTL technology enables conversion of inexpensive and abundant coal into valuable liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel. Methods include indirect conversion of coal to syngas, which can be converted to liquid hydrocarbons (mainly by FT synthesis) or direct conversion by various DCL methods. Development of technologies in the early 20th century gave way to wartime use in Germany and post-war commercial implementation in South Africa

The future of CTL use in the United States is challenged by its relatively high cost compared to energy/fuels from cheap and abundant domestic natural gas and petroleum.