Looks like China is about to uncork the CTL genie, opening a plant to produce liquid fuel from coal.

This won’t be the last:

A study last year by the Chinese Academy of Sciences said: “Production of liquid fuels from coal is practically the most feasible route to cope with the dilemma in oil supply.”

It concluded: “Establishing large-scale CTL [coal-to-liquids] plants on the pitheads of several main coalfields is feasible and competitive when oil price is well over US$25 per barrel.”

Well, we’re screwed I guess. A couple of things from the article are (darkly) humorous. Like this line:

Some [CTL companies] also herald it as a way to fight global warming, despite the industry’s own figures, which show that converting and burning the liquid coal together releases almost twice the carbon pollution as using conventional diesel.

I guess they can herald whatever they want to herald, huh?

And this:

Luke Warren of the World Coal Institute, admitted the process was "carbon dioxide intensive", but said the greenhouse gas could be captured and stored underground.

Much like I "could be a millionaire." Now if someone would just give me a million dollars …


Even capturing the carbon may not solve the problem. An analysis by the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory last year said that liquid fuels from coal, even with carbon capture and storage employed, would still produce at least 20% more carbon dioxide than petrol and diesel made from oil.