Wanted to start a threat on the potential for coal to liquid technology. It is an area of great potential with huge pitfalls. What I understand about it is the following:
- traditionally the fuel generated is of a lower octane
- the process can be very dirty, with huge amounts of off waste
- the fuel itself is cleaner as has a low sulphur content
- it's non-viable with oil below $50
- there's uncertainty around how it will be affected by the cap and trade, as it has high emissions in the production phase.
I have found a few interesting companies:
Sasol, pretty much the most established
Syntroleum Inc, which licenses out the process but does not have a plant
Rentech Inc, which seems to be putting all it's eggs in the basket with Tyson foods and the US military converting organic fats into jet fuel (which sounds ghastly)
Linc Energy plc, an Aussie company, using Syntroleum technology.
What I can see is that the US names have all been trading much much higher and seem to be burning through cash with little to show. Clearly, the price of oil has had an effect and governments seem to be putting their weight behind wind, nuclear, ethanol etc.
Is the technology all hype?