products—has a long history, as does the FT process. Direct liquefaction products generally are heavy liquids that require significant further upgrading into liquid transportation fuels. The technology is not ready for commercial deployment. Further, because of the absence of recent detailed design studies in the available literature, the committee’s ability to estimate costs and performance is limited.

The three most significant R&D priorities for commercialization of thermochemical technologies are these:

  • Immediate construction of a small number of commercial first-mover projects, combined with geologic storage of CO2, that put the technology on the path toward reduced cost, improved performance, and robustness. These projects would have major R&D components that focus on solving problems identified in the operation of plants and on developing technology for specific improvements.

  • R&D programs, associated with commercial-scale geologic CO2 storage demonstrations, that involve detailed geologic analysis and a broad array of monitoring tools and techniques to provide the data and understanding upon which future commercial projects will depend.

  • Research that determines the penalties associated with preprocessing of biomass, the choice of a best gasifier for a given biomass type, the technical problems with feeding biomass to high-pressure gasification systems, and the answers to related questions. Biomass gasification and combined biomass and coal gasification have potential CO2-reduction benefits, but they can be brought to commercialization only if such practical issues are resolved.

Findings: Thermochemical Conversion

Technologies for the indirect liquefaction of coal to transportation fuels are commercially deployable today; without geologic storage of the CO2produced in the conversion, however, greenhouse gas life-cycle emissions will be about twice those of petroleum-based fuels. With geologic storage of CO2, coal-to-liquid transportation fuels could have greenhouse gas life-cycle emissions equivalent to those of equivalent petroleum-derived fuels.


Technologies for the indirect liquefaction of coal to produce liquid transportation fuels with greenhouse gas life-cycle emissions equivalent to those of petroleum-



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