The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Coal To Liquids

Clint Crackel
Coal Can Eliminate Our Need for Foreign Oil

Clinton E. Crackel 

The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed in Germany in 1925 as means to convert coal into synthetic fuel for use in motorized vehicles. During World War II this process accounted for approximately 9% of the total German war production of fuel and 25% for automobiles.

In 2012, Princeton University researchers found the United States could eliminate the need for crude oil by substituting it with synthetic fuels (Sullivan, John. "Synthetic fuels could eliminate entire U.S. need for crude oil, create 'new economy'." News at Princeton. N.p., 27 Nov. 2012. Web.). At least we could eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by substituting it with the Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid (CTL) synthetic fuel process in order to create jobs and revive the American coal industry that has been stymied by harsh environmental and political constraints.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal is our most abundant natural resource. The recoverable U.S. coal reserve is equivalent in energy to 900 billion barrels of oil.  

The current price of a barrel of oil is roughly $52. However, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) maximum price per barrel of oil is predicted by The Economy Forecast Agency to be $86.40 by August 2019.  Also, WTI spot prices for oil have exceeded $100 per barrel in 24 monthly periods since March, 2008. 

The Princeton University researchers estimated the cost of producing the synthetic equivalent of a barrel of crude oil was $83.58 to $95.11. However, from the date of the article to now, the price of coal in two of our coal regions has dropped from approximately $60 per short ton to $40 per short ton. Therefore, a reduced cost of coal should decrease the cost of producing synthetic fuel. 

Many environmental advocates have recognized that synthetic fuels have a much lower or even zero content of sulfur, heavy metals and other toxic and environmentally damaging impurities. Also, unlike many biofuels, synthetic fuels can be used in gasoline and diesel engines with no need for modifications.

Although there has been an interest in the Fischer-Tropsch CTL process in the U.S. in the past, it doesn’t appear to be in use in this country at this time. As far as I know, the only commercial Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel production facility in the world is owned and operated by the South African company Susol.  However, China recognizes the advantages of the process and is now constructing several large CTL synthetic fuel production projects.

Environmental and political constraints, in addition to high construction costs, have prevented the construction of Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel production facilities in our country. However, it is conceivable public and private funding could be available to offset construction costs of such facilities if our political leaders favor the use of coal in synthetic fuel production. 

Since the Fischer-Tropsch CTL process requires heat in the range of a few hundred degrees Celsius, perhaps emission-free small modular reactors could serve as the heat source for future Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel processing facilities.       

Since even before the American Industrial Revolution coal has played a vital role in fulfilling the energy needs of our nation. It deserves the chance to continue to prove its worth to our nation by serving as the principal feedstock for synthetic fuel production.


The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy also promotes a similar approach via its Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) and Converting CO2 Into Gasoline

Fischer-Tropsch Coal to Liquid

Coal Can Offset Fuel Losses Caused by Hurricanes

Clint Crackel

Clinton E. Crackel
Co-founder and Co-chairman
Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition

According to the Energy Information Administration, over 45% of our refinery capacity, 51% of our natural gas processing and 17% of our crude oil production are in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Hurricane Harvey's impact on the Gulf of Mexico rendered approximately 25% of our refineries inoperable for a short period of time. This equates to a loss of approximately 2.2 million barrels of crude oil being refined per day. In addition, Hurricane Nate caused a curtailment of 92% of our oil output and 77% of natural gas production operations in the Gulf.

The loss of so much refining capacity and oil extraction, even for a short period of time, can lead to a dramatic shortage in our nation’s petroleum fuel supply. Such shortages can and will lead to considerable price spikes in jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. In one instance, due to Hurricane Harvey, the price of a gallon of gasoline was reported to be $6.99 at one gas station in Arlington, Texas.

The refineries and drilling operations are highly susceptible to damage and prolonged shutdown due to hurricanes. Yet we have no source of alternative fuel for internal combustion engines available unless vehicles are modified to run on such fuels as hydrogen, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the form of propane, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

It costs approximately $10,000 for a simple conversion of a light vehicle to burn hydrogen, and from $6,500 for a basic system to $12,000 for a top-of-the line system to convert a light vehicle to burn CNG, LNG or LPG (Propane): $6,500 for a basic system to $12,000 for a top-of-the-line system. I'm sure the costs are inherently more for larger vehicles.

The Fischer-Tropsch coal to liquid (CTL) synthetic fuel process converts coal to a liquid form similar to crude oil, and it can be refined to produce jet fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. This synthetic fuel can be used in internal combustion engines without having to pay the exorbitant costs to modify a vehicle to burn other types of fuel.

Adopting the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel process on a wide scale in the United States would generate thousands of jobs in the coal mining and fuel production industries, including new plant construction. It would also ensure an uninterruptible supply of fuel for use in internal combustion engines is available because the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel plants would be located further inland, away from areas most susceptible to the destructive effects of hurricanes.

Due to its inherent compatibility with petroleum based fuels and relative safety of processing locations, the Fischer-Tropsch CTL synthetic fuel process should be incorporated as a vital
component of our national energy mix.

The Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy also promotes a similar approach via its Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) and Converting CO2 Into Gasoline