based fuels can be commercially deployed before 2020 only if several first-mover plants are started up soon and if the safety and long-term viability of geologic storage of CO2is demonstrated in the next 5–6 years.
Indirect liquefaction of combined coal and biomass to transportation fuels is close to being commercially deployable today. Coal can be combined with biomass at a ratio of 60:40 (on an energy basis) to produce liquid fuels that have greenhouse gas life-cycle emissions comparable to those of petroleum-based fuels if CCS is not implemented. With CCS, production of fuels from coal and biomass would have a carbon balance of about zero to slightly negative. A program of aggressive support for first-mover commercial plants that produce coal-to-liquid transportation fuels and coal-and-biomass-to-liquid transportation fuels with integrated geologic storage of CO2 would have to be undertaken immediately if the United States were to address energy security with those fuels that have greenhouse gas emissions similar to or less than those of petroleum-based fuels. If decisions to proceed with commercial demonstrations are made soon so that the plants could start up in 4–5 years, and if CCS is demonstrated to be safe and viable, those technologies would be commercially deployable by 2020.
The technology for producing liquid transportation fuels from biomass or from combined biomass and coal via thermochemical conversion has been demonstrated but requires additional development to be ready for commercial deployment. For example, key technologies for biomass gasification would have to be demonstrated on an intermediate scale, alone and in combination with coal, to obtain the engineering and operating data required to design synthesis-gas-production units on a commercial scale.
Geologic storage of CO2on a commercial scale is critical for producing liquid transportation fuels from coal without a large adverse greenhouse gas impact. This is similar to the situation for producing power from coal. The operational procedures, monitoring, safety, and effectiveness of commercial-scale technology for geologic storage of CO2 would have to be demonstrated in an aggressive program if geologic storage of CO2 is to be ready for commercial deployment by 2020. Three to five commercial-scale demonstrations (each with about 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year and operated for several years) would have to be set up within the next 3–5 years in areas with different geologic stroage media. The demonstrations would focus on the site choice, permitting, monitoring, operation,