Chemicals From Coal (Critical Reports on Applied Chemistry) (Volume 14)

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9780471913252: Chemicals From Coal (Critical Reports on Applied Chemistry) (Volume 14)
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This present volume completes the review first conducted in "Chemicals from Coal: New Developments, Critical Reports on Applied Chemistry, Volume 9", which included chapters on the overall economics of coal chemistry and recent technical advances in the pyrolysis and liquefaction of coal. Volume 14 considers the production of coal-based chemicals with chapters on the gasification of coal, the Fischer-Tropsch process, and a study of the calcium carbide route to coal-derived chemicals. Both the carbide process and the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis have been known and operated for many years. The Fischer-Tropsch process was originally developed in Germany by BASF before the First World War, and was improved over the years until, by the advent of World War II, it became an important source of chemicals and fuel for the Third Reich. After World War II, the emergence of cheap oil from the Middle East generally made coal- based processes uneconomic. The exception was in South Africa, where economic conditions favoured the development of coal-based chemistry, and the resulting Sasol operation is described in this volume by Dr M.E. Dry of Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd. The original Fischer-Tropsch catalysts were cobalt catalysts operating in the vapour phase. Over the years, there has been much research into the use of alternative catalyst systems for the Fischer-Tropsch processes, both in the liquid and vapour phases, for the conversion of CO/H2 mixtures to economically important chemicals and incorporating high selectives. The value of this research is not entirely limited to coal chemistry, and Professor Wender's chapter describes the work carried out in this field. Chapters on carbide chemistry and gasification processes have also been included, both provide a view of future developments in this area of coal chemistry. At the present time, with the price of oil falling and with significant supplies available for the next 30 years or so, there are strong economic arguments against the immediate and general use of coal as a source of chemical intermediates. In the longer term, however, the substantial supplies of coal available will guarantee its role as a source of energy and chemicals long after oil and gas have ceased to be available.

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