Introduction

The most abundant fossil fuel reserve in the U. S. is in the form of coal. This resource constitutes over 80 percent of our recoverable fossil fuel energy—some four times the quantity of all the oil, gas, tar sands, oil shale, and bituminous rocks combined. About 40 percent of this lies in the Great Plains deposit as lignite, subbituminous and Plains deposit as lignite, subbituminous and bituminous coal. This paper projects a potential process for recovery of high quality potential process for recovery of high quality crude oil from these coals and presents an estimate of cost for a commercial-scale plant.

The process to be used in this plant of the future is an outgrowth of work done by industry and Government, some of which is currently under way. A substantial portion of this work was performed for the Office of Coal Research and has been reported elsewhere. Estimated costs have been extracted from Office of Coal Research reports modified to reflect scale and more recent process improvements.

To obtain a good relationship of processes, we have chosen from OCR contracts with Consolidation Coal Co- [Continental Oil], The Pittsburgh and Midway Coal Mining Co. [Gulf Oil Pittsburgh and Midway Coal Mining Co. [Gulf Oil Co.], Arco Chemical Co. (Atlantic Richfield], FMC Corp., Hydrocarbon Research, Inc., The M. W. Kellogg Co., Institute of Gas Technology, Westinghouse Electric Corp., West Virginia U., Iowa State U., Pennsylvania State U. and the U. of Utah. Work performed by the Bureau of Mines has been considered, along with work on advanced power cycles by Avco Corp. and American Electric Power. No claim is made that these organizations endorse or subscribe to this projected plant. In fact, a number of the projected plant. In fact, a number of the estimates are somewhat more pessimistic than those from the companies. Some, however, are more optimistic. We should like to call the over-all projection "realistically conservative".

THE RESOURCES

In considering methods to put the nation's coal resources to their best use, one immediately thinks of both other energy resources and markets and concludes that the major effort must be in the field of energy. This means that the coal processing plant of the future will be large—comparable in size to a modern petroleum refinery—with a nominal capacity of 100,000 to 200,000 B/D, with the coal mine serving the plant being very large by today's standards. plant being very large by today's standards. The process requires large reserves for which many Western deposits are ideal—a large reserve can be put together, the coal quality is good for a number of processes, and, perhaps most important, the coal seams are ideally suited to the most efficient modern mining methods. Many of the coal seams are 75 to 100 ft thick, with little overburden.

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