Coal fields aren’t just for Appalachia anymore. From the North Slope of Alaska to the Florida Panhandle, from central California to Rhode Island, the United States is sitting atop trillions, if not quadrillions of dollars worth of the famed greasy rock.
With that said, the incoming Trump Administration has made it no secret that The Donald has every intention of unleashing the beast that is American oil production.
But as history and scientific research has shown, refined crude isn’t the liquid fuel that makes engines run properly.
Published by the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, German scientists first began developing in 1910 the technology to process coal into liquid synthetic fuel for gasoline and diesel engines.
Germany’s technologically successful synthetic fuel industry continued to grow during the 1930s and in the period 1939-1945 produced eighteen million tons of liquids from coal and tar, and another three million tons of liquids from the F-T [Fischer-Tropsch] synthesis.
But the coal-rich Germans didn’t stop there. During the war years, the Reich refitted half a million privately owned cars and trucks to run off of something called wood gasification.
That’s right, they actually developed a process in which charcoal was transformed into a combustible vapor that could power an internal combustion engine.
Not content just for personal use, buses, tractors, motorcycles, ships and trains were equipped with wood gasification units. The Wehrmacht also powered some of the much-feared Panzerkorps on wood gas.
And as they say on late night infomercials, but wait… there’s more.
During WWII the German Luftwaffe developed rocket engines that ran off the same thing we’ve been using to whiten our teeth, clean minor wounds, even some use to change their hair color – yep, hydrogen peroxide.
And the Germans weren’t the only ones. After the war, the Armed Forces of the United States, Great Britain and the former-Soviet Union also deployed technologically improved versions of the original German cold monopropellant rocket engine.