The horrible history of liquid coal
A new wave of polluting "coal-to-oil" refineries are planned in order to produce low-sulfur diesel fuel through a process that gasifies, then liquefies coal.
The technology involved is called Fischer-Tropsch, named after the two German scientists who developed it in the 1920s. The first coal-to-oil refineries were developed to fuel the Nazi war machine and ran from 1936 to 1945.
Since 1955, three coal-to-oil refineries were developed under the Apartheid regime in South Africa (another nation with little oil, but plentiful coal reserves). These are the only existing coal-to-oil refineries and their operator, SASOL, is in the process of switching them from coal to natural gas as a feedstock.
- reprinted from UltraDirtyFuels.com