Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Environmental Issues of Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal

  • Michael A. Chartock (a1), Micahel D. Devine (a1), Martin R. Cines (a1) and Steven E. Plotkin (a2)

Coal liquefaction processes provide a basis to transform a solid into liquid fuels that are suitable for transportation purposes but release a wide range of air emissions, water effluents, and solid wastes, with considerable potential for locally reducing environmental quality. Compared with other major sources of emissions such as coal-fired power-plants, liquefaction plants release relatively low levels of emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides for an equivalent quantity of coal-feed. However, coal liquefaction processes potentially release hydrocarbons to air, water, and land. The ‘direct’ coal liquefaction processes, which hydrogenate coal under high temperature and pressure, may release potentially more hazardous hydrocarbons than ‘indirect’ processes, which break down coal by partial combustion and then synthesize liquid fuel. The presence of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons in process streams of ‘direct’ processes, and their heavy fuel products, may require special processing to minimize environmental intrusion.

Environmental issues in the US are dependent on where coal resources are developed. Plants located in the humid eastern US are likely to have discharges to receiving streams, many of which are already ‘water quality limited.’ Thus eastern locations are more likely to have water quality-related problems and issues than western US locations. However, because of water consumption requirements of the coal liquefaction processes, arid western locations are more likely to experience water availability issues. These more arid regions may also experience greater potential effects on terrestrial environments, as the assimilative capacity and regrowth of vegetation is typically lower in arid than in humid environments.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 1 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 13 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.