The Bionic Enterprises Group Sustainability in energy and agriculture

Coal – a clean energy source after all?

Recently Bionic disclosed its ground breaking new microwave assisted coal liquefaction process. It will be called Bionic µCTL, the brand name chosen for an all new development which profoundly rewrites the history on direct coal-to-liquid conversion. The Bergius process has been known for almost 100 years and was most successful in Germany during WW2. Many later attempts, however, to construct efficient and commercially viable plants using the process failed. The ongoing lack of commercial success had many reasons, from extremely low prices for fossil crude oil and expensive (German) coal to unsolved environmental issues.

With the arrival of Bionic’s patent pending µCTL technology the technical and commercial parameters of liquid fuel from coal have been changed. There are no valid arguments left to hold off a long awaited come back for coal as an additional option for the long-term supply of (relatively) clean transportation fuels. Of course, even coal is a finite source of energy, but it can now be grouped together with natural gas (NPG) as an “ultra clean” fuel if processed with µCTL, either stand alone or in combination with a prior gasification process called devolatilization. Thus energy efficiency of the use of quality coal can be increased from around 30% to over 60% with a coupled reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by up to 65%.

Further more, the globes coal reserves last much longer than those of fossil oil where many say, peak oil has already been passed. Given oil prices that have obviously stabilized above 90 USD per barrel by now, liquid fuel from coal might not only turn out cleaner, but also significantly cheaper than fuels from advanced oil extraction technologies exploiting tar sands, oil shale and ultra deep-sea drilling. In any case, the latest extraction technologies expose mankind too much higher environmental risks and impacts than mere processing of coal. After all coal mining by itself can be considered a very safe, well understood process if done responsibly, while the latest oil extraction processes are outright experimental methods on a global scale with unpredictable consequences.

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