Friday, August 26, 2005

Of course it was the Germans

That's what my mom used to say about every cool innovation, like rockets. But the Krauts are pretty good with figuring shit out.

HELENA, Montana - Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel.

[. . .]

Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," [Gov. Brian] Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now." [my emphases]

[. . .]

Today is the first I heard of this. The Indian showed it to me in a trade paper over morning coffee. I'm gonna do more research (and yes, you treehuggers, I'm gonna find out how environmentally feasible this is) and I'll get back to you. At first blush, it seems promising. Yes, I know we need cleaner fuels, but we are rich in coal, and if gasoline and diesel can be extracted, it could cut our ties to Arab oil . . . and Pat Robertson can call back the hit on Hugo Chavez.

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