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West Virginia University researchers have developed a way to convert coal into synthetic oil in a carbon dioxide-free economical process and, through a licensing agreement, two international firms are planning to demonstrate its viability.
 
Quantex Energy Inc. of Canada and New Hope Corporation Ltd of Australia announced an agreement in September to commercialize the technology acquired under license from WVU.  The companies are hoping to eventually produce up to 50,000 barrels of synthetic oil per day in up to three different demonstration facilities.
 
The plan calls for New Hope and Quantex to have a 25-year exclusive license for the WVU technology that converts coal into synthetic crude oil.  This new process is cheaper than previous systems and does not produce any carbon dioxide.  WVU researchers explained that in the process, coal is not gasified, but rather dissolved.
 
Eliminating hydrogen from the liquefaction process results in a lower capital cost.  As a result, WVU technologies involving coal conversion offer an affordable means for achieving lower carbon footprint and overall reduced environmental impact compared to current practices. 
 
The researchers believe that cleaner products can be made from coal liquids rather than from heavy petroleum residues thanks to the use of solvent extraction and low emissions technologies for processing. 


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