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For a military forces, a steady reliable supply of fuel is critical to success. Given that, the U.S. Air Force has been investigating the idea of putting a coal-to-liquid facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Coal is readily available in the continental U.S. and being able to economically produce synthetic liquid fuel would be highly beneficial to the military.

China has been moving aggressively to wean itself from reliance on petroleum both because of terrible pollution problems in the big cities like Beijing an Shanghai and because it has few domestic petroleum reserves. Recently the Chinese government has put a lot of emphasis on coal to liquid synthetic petroleum, but now appears to moving away from that path.

Following a conversation with Washington Congressman Jay Inslee, Grist blogger David Roberts set out to distinguish between coal gasification and coal-to-liquid (CTL) production. Inslee believes CTL supporters are engaging in a plot to confuse legislators by positioning CTL under a "clean coal" blanket along with gasification. Roberts admitted he confused the two terms in previous writings, and I'll confess I never realized the dramatic differences. So take a look at the Gristmill and follow som

Over at EcoGeek, Hank Green has a response to the recent MSNBC/Newsweek article about liquefied coal. Coal-to-liquid fuel is very controversial topic because the United States has huge quantities of coal in the ground, and it's relatively cheap to extract, at least compared to most other options. The problem is that coal, like petroleum, is a fossil fuel, which means that burning it (or a derivative) releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that would otherwise remain locked up tight

SeekingAlpha investment advisor Charles Morand is maybe, possibly thinking about betting on synfuels, specifically coal-to-liquid (CTL) synfuels made by Headwaters, Syntroleum Corp, Sasol and Rentec. He has a rundown of each company on this page. While the headline reads "Four Stocks to Watch," implying these are good investment opportunities, Morand's write-up makes CTL investment seem like a losing proposition, at least right now.

Interfax is reporting that a coal liquefaction facility will be built in the Jilin province of north-eastern China, with help from the Japanese company Universe Gas and Oil Co. Reportedly, Universe will spend over $51 million on the facility to produce 500,000 tons per year of what they term clean fuel oil. How clean any coal based project can be is debatable, but the plant will be using coal from local mines. Company official Zhang Shuang says the technology they will use is different from exis

I don't like the wording in Slate's headline for this great story on the Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid process (is it really "one of the world's most exciting new fuel sources"? Is it really even new if it was developed in the 1920s?), but I still encourage you to read the story. The world is a complicated place, and Daniel Gross' investigation of how Fischer-Tropsch moved from Nazi synthfuel to the fuel of choice for South Africa's state run energy company emphasizes this. The company, Sasol,

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