Summary of NATO Synthetic Fuel Alternatives.
TETRA TECH INC ARLINGTON VA
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In the past year, the problem of natural crude supply and its cost has reached critical proportions for the United States and Western Europe. In view of this crisis the NATO countries have been forced to consider such alternative fossil fuel sources as coal, oil shale, and tar sands for their military forces. The use of these fuels does not present a problem of supply, for the NATO nations have deposits of these fossil fuels that far exceed the proven world reserves of crude oil. It does, however, present a problem of technology - how to realize and use effectively the synthetic product of these deposits. Coal, for example, is particularly plentiful, exceeding the NATO oil reserves and oil shale and tar sands resources by almost a factor of ten. NATO naval forces are affected by the fuel shortage and cost since most NATO naval ships and all its aircraft use liquid hydrocarbon fuels the requirement for large quantities of liquid fossil fuels will continue for at least the next 25 years. Consequently, the military forces of NATO are particularly interested in the development of other sources and production methods for liquid fossil fuels. Conversion technologies for producing liquid fuel products from oil shale and coal have been demonstrated, a commercial tar sands plant is currently in operation in Canada, and several research and development programs are being conducted to improve the conversion process and to reduce the cost of synthetic fuels. The improved oil shale and coal conversion processes are now entering the pilot plant stage commercial oil shale plants are expected to begin operation by 1980 and commercial coal liquefaction plants should begin operation by 1985.