Coal Liquefaction – UPSC Prelims

  • Coal Liquefaction: 
    • It is a process in which coal is converted into liquid fuels or petrochemicals.
    • There are several processes used to accomplish this task, the two most common being the “indirect route” and the “direct route”.
  • Indirect Route: 
    • It is composed of 2 steps:
      • First, coal is gasified with steam and oxygen to produce a synthesis gas (syngas), which is then cleaned to rid of dust, tar, and acid gases.
      • The second step reacts the synthesis gas with a catalyst in the Fischer-Tropsch process which converts the syngas into a range of hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel and methanol.
  • Direct Route: 
    • In this coal is pulverized and reacted with a catalyst, then hydrogen is added under high pressures and temperatures in the presence of a solvent to produce a raw liquid fuel.
    • This raw fuel requires refining in order to yield acceptable transportation fuels.
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