What could this mean?
- More time to switch to another source of energy for transport
- Right now the amount of Coal reserve compared to Oil is a lot more, what will happen if we use this coal for oil. The depletion rate will go much faster. Here are the numbers as of today for reserves:
Oil: 43 years (43 years using levels and flows above)
Gas: 167 years (61 years using levels and flows above)
Coal: 417 years (148 years using levels and flows above)
- It could also mean that the tar sand oil from Alberta would become uneconomical. At around 40$ per barrel, we would need to cut down the price or shutdown production.
ARLINGTON - How would you like to buy gasoline made from $30 domestic coal versus $75 imported oil?
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington say they've found a practical way to make synthetic crude from inexpensive coal that's common in Texas.
People have been turning coal into oil for 100 years or more, but researchers at UTA say they've invented a better way to do it.
It is so much better that they expect to sign a deal with an oil company within weeks.
"This is East Texas lignite coal. We go from that to this really nice liquid," said Professor Brian Dennis of a light synthetic crude, easily refined into gasoline.
Professor Dennis and a team of scientists have been working on the process for about a year-and-a-half.
"I had the idea for this while I was walking to my car," he said. "I ran back to the lab and I started drawing it out in my notebook."
They only showed News 8 an early model reactor which doesn't look like much. The current reactor design is secret, extremely efficient, and emits no pollution, the UTA scientists said.
"We're improving the cost every day. We started off sometime ago at an uneconomical $17,000 a barrel. Today, we're at a cost of $28.84 a barrel," said engineering dean Rick Billo.
That's $28 a barrel versus $75 we pay now for imported crude.
Texas lignite coal is dirt cheap - less than $18 a ton. A ton of coal will produce up to 1.5 barrels of oil.
UTA researchers expect micro-refineries to be built within a year, turning coal into cheap oil and producing new jobs.
It's still fossil fuel, but scientists say it could bridge the gap until greener technologies catch up.