The Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory has completed a feasibility study for a proposed Coal to Liquid fuel production facility in Illinois. The proposal would include a plant that would convert 24,500 tons of coal daily into 50,000 barrels of fuel along with 124 MW of electrical power that would go back into the grid. The output would include almost 28,000 barrels per day of diesel that would still require additional additives before it could be used. The rest would be naptha for use as a chemical feedstock.
The input to the plant would be high-sulfur bituminous coal which would be gasified and then the gas would be converted to liquids by the Fischer-Tropsch method. The study projected the $3.65 billion plant would have a twenty percent annual return on investment. The problem remains, though, that coal is a fossil fuel and any fuel you make from it will be releasing carbon from the earth into the atmosphere. While the fuel may displace some imported fuel it does nothing at all about environmental concerns.