Penn State University has really been on a green roll these last few days, getting three stories featured on our site. One had to do with a novel way to extract hydrogen from water using nanotechnology and sunlight and the second had to do with using coal and papermaking waste to make a liquid fuel. This third story again has to do with coal-based liquid fuels. Instead of looking at paper mills as potential sources for products to add to coal, they are looking to existing fuel refineries. They believe that many different fuels, including jet fuel, gasoline substitutes and diesel substitutes, can be made from coal if you add the correct refinery by-products. Penn State researchers have been working on this idea for a while now, first focusing solely on jet fuel. But, they found that while making the jet fuel they also ended up with certain amounts of fuel oil, diesel fuel and gasoline as co-products.
The refinery by-products of coal tar, refinery solvent and decant oil are being mixed with coal in different fractions. Fuel-grade coke, which is a fuel used in the steel industry, has also been used. Penn State should be familiar with the steel industry being that Pennsylvania is known as the steel capital of the U.S. (and hence the Pittsburgh Steelers football team). No mention was made of the emissions of these various fuels, so we are not suggesting that these are green fuels in any way. In fact, they are almost assuredly not green in any way. None of that means that the fuels will not be used, of course. Hopefully, the nation and the world will be on to bigger and better things by then!
[Source: Penn State]