Accession Number:



Producing Liquid Fuels from Coal: Prospects and Policy Issues

Descriptive Note:


Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The increase in world oil prices since 2003 has prompted renewed interest in producing and using liquid fuels from unconventional resources, such as biomass, oil shale, and coal. This book focuses on issues and options associated with establishing a commercial coal-to-liquids CTL industry within the United States. The book describes the technical status, costs, and performance of methods that are available for producing liquids from coal the key energy and environmental policy issues associated with CTL development the impediments to early commercial experience and the efficacy of alternative federal incentives in promoting early commercial experience. Because coal is not the only near-term option for meeting liquid-fuel needs, this book also briefly reviews the benefits and limitations of other approaches, including the development of oil shale resources, the further development of biomass resources, and increasing dependence on imported petroleum. A companion document provides a detailed description of incentive packages that the Federal Government could offer to encourage private-sector investors to pursue early CTL production experience while reducing the probability of bad outcomes and limiting the costs that might be required to motivate those investors. During the preparation of this book, the U.S. Congress and federal departments were considering alternative legislative proposals for promoting the development of unconventional fuels in the United States. This book is intended to inform those deliberations. It should also be useful to federal officials responsible for establishing civilian and defense research programs to potential investors in early CTL production plants and to state, tribal, and local government decision makers who are considering the costs, risks, and benefits of early CTL production plants.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy
  • Non-electrical Energy Conversion
  • Air Pollution and Control

Distribution Statement: