With the biofuels backlash in full swing, it may be time for coal-to-liquids (CTL) to retake the spotlight. In fact, Sasol
At a press conference in China on Friday, the South African energy heavyweight announced that it's moving forward with two coal-to-liquids projects in the country. Sasol is the world's leading maker of synthetic fuel from coal, and its partner in the endeavor is none other than Shenhua Group, China's coal king.
Shenhua is no stranger to coal-to-liquids. The firm has been tweaking its own technology for years in partnership with Headwaters
China is looking to top a quarter million barrels per day of CTL capacity by 2020. While U.S. companies like Arch Coal
If you agree with me on that point, though, it's not altogether clear that CTL has an advantage over "clean coal" electric generation as a power source for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Sure, we already have the infrastructure in place for fuel distribution, but electric generation opens up our fuel supply to a much more diverse array of inputs, be it coal or solar or nuclear. Coal-to-liquids may begin to regain favor as food prices fly, but its rise is far from a fait accompli.