[Note: The statements below are intended solely to stimulate discussion among the Expert community, and do not represent the position of OurEnergyPolicy.org. Text in italics indicates clarification or expansion.]

Government intervention is not required. Let the best/cheapest solution win. The key is to maintain an even playing field between all oil replacements (like methanol and ethanol).

If we find an economically viable alternative which can be used in today’s cars, the priorities of the energy policy should be reviewed.

All validated alcohols should benefit from the same tax benefits as ethanol and methanol.

Coal to Liquid (CTL) is a known and proven technology. The following factors need to be taken into account:

  • CTL is (or has the potential to be) one of the cheapest fuels.
  • CTL’s GHG life cycle impact is twice that of conventional oil and it has other environmental problems.
  • Production of 6 MBD equivalent will more than double our coal consumption.
  • If CSS technology is developed and commercialized on a large scale, CTL can still be price competitive.
  • CTL can help us alleviate a possible oil shock (e.g., as result of a terror act against a major oil terminal).
  • The Chinese are moving aggressively into Coal to Methanol without CSS!

Coal to Liquid is a special case that needs government intervention. There are simply too many factors that could not be sorted out by the market alone.

We have to be ready for a possible oil shock. This program is a safety net.

Our goal should be to find a continually cleaner way to perform the “old” process. We need to establish a declining standard level of allowed “GHG and residue” with a specific timeline. That way the industry can start the infrastructure building process and implement new solutions as the technology becomes available. The residue and GHG standard timeline should carry penalties for non compliance.

We must allow the market forces to start working in mass. We don’t have a chance of finding a cleaner process, if it is not supported by enough capital.

A successful solution for cleaner Coal to Methanol has far reaching global implications. The Chinese are moving aggressively in the direction of Coal to Methanol (3.7 billion gallons in 2007 to be tripled in a few years). An affordable solution developed by us could be adopted by the Chinese, thereby scoring a significant win in the fight against global warming.

We are not in a position to “wait patiently” for a “perfect” technological solution. We need a “moving target” that the Chinese and other countries can afford.