Note About Synthetic Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons can be synthesized by reacting hydrogen with carbon-containing materials. Farm waste and coal have been suggested as suitable carbon sources. Investigators have suggested large quantities of hydrogen should be produced for the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Chemical engineers currently know how to process coal into synthetic liquid fuels. Today Sasol Ltd. of South Africa uses the Fischer-Tropsch 174 process to product synthetic hydrocarbon fuels on an industrial scale. 175 The first step in the synthetic fuel manufacturing process is the production of hydrogen from water using energy derived from coal combustion or from non-fossil energy sources (hydropower, nuclear, etc.). The hydrogen is reacted with coal converting it to a liquid and/or gaseous hydrocarbon fuel. Today the technology is in limited use in places such as South Africa where coal is cheap and oil derived fuels are expensive. The result of this synthesis process is a fuel with all the shortcomings of oil-based fossil fuels and in addition, the shortcomings of coal use.

The synthetic chemical fuels, made of hydrogen and carbon, have the same basic chemical composition as the fossil fuels we are trying to eliminate. Use of these compounds will simply perpetuate the problems described in Chapter 1 for which we are seeking a solution. If implemented on a wide scale, synthetic fuel production processes provide a method of continuing the undesirable addition of carbon dioxide and other pollutants to the atmosphere. In addition, they encourage increased production of coal, the most polluting of the fossil fuels. The fuel for the future must be hydrogen used alone, without carbon.

In Chapter 7 the use of a variant of the Fischer-Tropsch process using domestic waste as the carbon source will be discussed. If this process can be developed, it will provide a means of producing hydrocarbon feedstock without mining of fossil fuels. It will also provide a method of recycling all domestic waste and reduce or eliminate the growing problem of insufficient landfill capacity.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

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