The Office of Coal Research was established by Public Law 86-599, approved July 7, 1960. It was organized upon an operational basis in the spring of 1961, and awarded its first contract in August of that year. It is charged with the development through research of new and more efficient methods of mining, preparing and utilizing coal. This is done through contracts with agencies of Government and with private organizations; OCR does no in-house research.

Private research in the coal industry has been limited to activities by coal associations and by a comparatively few companies. This industry is composed mainly of small business units that are unable to finance laboratory and pilot plant operations. A good deal of coal research has been governmental. Total research, however, has been inadequate and coal resources have not been effectively utilized as a consequence. The necessity for an expanded and more balanced coal research program becomes particularly apparent once consideration is given to future requirements for energy.

1. Future Energy Requirements

Fuel forecasters in estimating long-term energy requirements and supplies have predicted a bright outlook for coal. Some predictions have annual coal output reaching 800 million tons by 1980, almost twice the average of the last five years. The projections reflect advanced statistical techniques in evaluating the prospective growth of the economy and its resulting energy needs, Supplies for the future energy load are distributed between the fuels and hydro. While coal production amounts to new records in the distant years ahead, its share in total energy supply is expected to be near what it is presently.

These projections assume that ultimate consumer energy products will be supplied adequately not only in volume but also by kind and type. The consumer energy schedule shifts continually as it reflects the changing demands for numerous uses. Its appearance, expressed generally in proportions of solids, liquids, gases and electricity, is quite different today from what it was in 1940.

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