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Author Topic: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace  (Read 5604 times)

rgroves

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Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« on: July 17, 2006, 02:28:14 PM »
This is from my daily update to the S & A Oil Report:

Dusting Off 1920’s Technology To Make Cheap Fuel
by Matt Badiali

In the waning moments of World War II, General Patton’s tanks began to run out of fuel as they dashed across France towards Berlin.

President Eisenhower diverted supplies from Patton’s 3rd Army to the British, driving on Belgium and Holland. Patton’s only ready source of fuel was what they could salvage from German vehicles until those key ports were in Allied hands.

During the war, Germans didn’t use fuel produced from crude oil, it was produced from something a little different…

In the 1920’s, German chemists successfully synthesized liquid fuel from coal. The process was named for them: Fischer-Tropsch. That process fueled the German war machine.

Currently, the price of oil is approaching $80 a barrel, and it’s been north of $60 for all of 2006. These high prices lure companies to research alternative fuels… like older techniques that weren’t profitable at $25 or $35 oil. This includes the fuel produced from the Fischer-Tropsch process.

In the U.S., coal was strictly for electrical generation. With the possible exception of Jay Leno, nobody drives Stanley Steamer cars anymore.

However, the stable (and high) oil price encouraged one U.S. company to take the financial risk into coal to liquid processing. The company is Rentech, Inc. (RTK, News). They are turning coal into diesel fuel to compete in the lucrative trucking fuel industry. Rentech is only just starting this project, but they’ve bought infrastructure. It’s a start.

It would take years to build the infrastructure necessary to replace diesel from crude with synthetics. However, fuel from coal could fill some critical needs in our society.

First, the domestic supply of coal is huge. Coal is a source of fuel to directly compete with foreign oil.

Second, it will help lower transportation costs. If synthetic fuel options are available, diesel prices will fall. Competition is healthy for a market, but there have never been alternative fuels to consider.

There is a hugely successful company in South Africa, Sasol who’s been doing this for years. Shell recently agreed to invest $5 billion into China’s budding coal to liquid industry.

I’m excited about this process. Oil prices are high enough, and technology is advanced enough, that we are going to see some real competition in this area.

I’m not worried about oil prices falling out from under these companies. I’m sure (sorry to say) that the days of sub-$50 oil are history. The good news is that high oil prices are fueling innovation and discovery… and this area will produce some big winners in the stock market.

Good Investing,

Matt Badiali
A country boy can survive - Hank Williams Jr.

hotater

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 02:49:32 PM »
And the "Watermelons"  (Green on the outside, pure red in the middle) will do everything they can to kill any additional coal mining to take advantage of the technology. 
7200 hrs on 6-1/5Kw, FuKing Listeroid,
Currently running PS-Kit 6-1/5Kw...and some MPs and Chanfas and diesel snowplows and trucks and stuff.

rgroves

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006, 03:16:10 PM »
And the "Watermelons"  (Green on the outside, pure red in the middle) will do everything they can to kill any additional coal mining to take advantage of the technology. 

Scroo-um.  This is about national security and economic survival.  Unless Al Gore and his ass-monkeys can get control of Congress, this and oil shale are going to be the energy salvation of our country.

BTW, have you ever seen what happens to a watermelon when it meets up with a 150 gr JSP traveling about 3000 fps?
Purty, ain't it?

rg
A country boy can survive - Hank Williams Jr.

mobile_bob

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2006, 10:42:53 PM »
russell, i am with you on this one,

we as a nation better dummy up quick, either we are going to have to go the coal to gas route or go neuclear in a big way, sooner than later.

when you think about history in general and how it tends to repeat itself over and over again several things seem to be past due.

1. depression, historically it happens every 30 to 50 years, we are far past due for a serious correction.

2. global warming, i am not a proponent of the theory, but i am realistic enough to know that it is indeed possible that we are either responsible for a warm up or the earth is entering a long cycle of warming, with some serious consequence.

3. world war, seems to me we are quite past due for something to set off another one of those bad boys

4. migration to and from cities to the country,  you have to be insane not to see that the migration back to the farm is happening now, but at much higher cost than at anytime in history. the last time it happened (after the great depression) corporate farming was not much of a player, now it is a serious player and has most of the good land locked up.

5. oil energy, we all know what is going on with this one, and it ain't going to get better, maybe relax a bit for a time, but not better. we will see 4 to 5 dollar gasoline in the next 5 to 10 years with extreme consequence in our economy.

6. government and political attitudes, here we have the gamit of folks, those that don't want neuclear anywhere anytime, those that want us all to ride bicycle's, and no drilling off the coast of california, florida or in the anwar (sp), this alone will slow progress until we have a crisis so severe that we may not be able to overcome it in a reasonable amount of time.
my thinking is in the event of a serious crisis, it would take at least 10 years to put in place anything that would alleviate the problem beit neuclear, coal to fuel, wind or whatever.

some of these things are happening now as we speak, some will happen at some point in the future, and we better be waking up to this reality as a nation.

things are hanging in a very precarious and delicate balance as i see it right now.

add to all this the loss of so much of our vast manufacturing base, and the ever present lunatic dictators of the world and the picture looks even more precarious to me.

during the last world war, or rather just prior to it, we had a vast industrial base, our own oil, alot of trained man power, and perhaps the most valuable of all a superb work ethic in this country.

how much of that remains today?

not enough to get into another world war, without neuclear deterent.

after pulling that pin, with north korea, russia, now iran and god knows who else will certainly feel free to do as they like
with their nukes, after which life will be very different for all of us.

so to dovetail all of this into your thread (at long last) yes we have the coal, many years of it, we understand it, and should work to derive liquid fuel from it "yesterday" if at all possible.

i remember the 90's and the tech industy being the "new economy" (remember that?), this was to save us from all the industial decline in this country, well we see how that worked out didnt we?

we are going to be stuck with this economy for a good long time, and lets face it, it is fueled by hydrocarbons.

bob g
otherpower.com, microcogen.info, practicalmachinist.com
(useful forums), utterpower.com for all sorts of diy info

twombo

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2006, 12:12:48 AM »
Quote
TW, have you ever seen what happens to a watermelon when it meets up with a 150 gr JSP traveling about 3000 fps?
Purty, ain't it?

Anything like 5 canada geese hitting a B-52 in the puss at 400 mph... messy?

Stinks pretty bad pullin the goose mush out of the airplane parts too!

mike

snail

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2006, 02:13:52 AM »
The South Africans are pretty well up on "oil from coal" technology.When I lived there in the mid 80's all of Johannesburg's petrol came from the SASOL plant. The firm still exists, but I'm not sure whether they retained the capability after sanctions ended.Wasn't the best quality fuel at the time but adequate for most vehicles.

Cheers

Snail

SHIPCHIEF

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2006, 05:07:33 AM »
  Before oil was so cheap,(late 1800's) every local area used the fuel that was locally available. Imagine the cost to have some pennsylvania kerosene shipped by rail, or by ship around the horn, in drums (to the great nothwet). Our local fuel was coal. Factories, ships, City steam, etc..           
 Gasworks park was set up to fuel street lights, and reduce pollution in the city (I would imagine). So that was Pre-Fischer-Tropsch, but it was converted coal just the same. Of course, many homes were heated with firewood. San Juan Island had some producer gas powered Fairbanks-Morse engines at Roche Harbor that can be seen today (without the gas generators).
The local Gyppo saw mills were powered by steam, generated from wastewood.
The daily fuel consumption was much lower per person. Efficiencies were much lower. People walked alot.
  Fischer-Tropsch is not efficient. The heat input to fuel out is poor. Add transport costs and the end result is a shocking amount of fuel burned per gallon of gas at the pump. The Green Weenies are going to freak out at the heat release and the idea of coal it'self.
  Last year the governor of Montana announced that Montana has enough coal to provide all the diesel fuel and gasoline the nation needs for the next 50 years, using Fischer-Tropsch, and for less that $3.50 per gallon (if I recall correctly).
I'm concered about the government stranglehold on allowable fuel. We can't use coal for home heat, and frequently have burning bans that don't permit home heat fireplaces to be used unless it is the only form of heat in the home. Local governments would take a dim view at local small capital fuel company's products (testing & certification). Big oil would lobby against it if they thought thier profits would be effected.
There are so few DIYers that we don't have any kind of lobby to stave off government restrictions. I doubt that stationary engine restrictions will be relaxed.
I suspect that 'clean' coal fired power plants will be the short term sollution. I'm in favor of a blend of all available fuel sources. Coal, Nuclear, Methane hydrates, natural gas, oil shale, deep oil, tar sands, geothermal, wind, solar, cropfuel, turkey guts-to-fuel, Producer gas; Anything but political hot air or eco-rhetoric.
The term World War Three is being used by the President and members of media. If true, and the imported fuel valve is closed, things will change FAST. The US military will get the best fuel first. We will be making fuel at high cost. Government regulations....you can count on them to be behind the curve on this one.
Scott E
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GuyFawkes

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Re: Fischer-Tropsch back in the marketplace
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2006, 10:37:30 AM »

The daily fuel consumption was much lower per person.


Bingo

and there were a LOT less people

and food production was a LOT more efficient in EROI terms

greenies / tree huggers I don't give a shit, by definition they are people with too much spare time

time will come soon enough, you want a new nuke plant per million people, or you want the lights off, permamently?
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