Charfuel® Process

Environmentally Responsible Energy Solutions


The Charfuel® Coal Refining Process is far more cost-effective than oil refining due to its use of inexpensive, abundant feedstock—coal—and the Charfuel® system’s relatively low capital costs (e.g., construction costs). The Charfuel® process can effectively compete against oil refineries—even at $20 per barrel oil prices. 

Like crude oil refining, a change in Charfuel® process parameters results in a change in the slate of co-products produced to meet various commodity market demands. As an illustration of the economics of the Charfuel® process, a base-case 5,000 metric ton-per-day (TPD) Charfuel® Coal Refinery located in Chicago, Illinois would refine a ton of raw Illinois #6 Coal into end products (fuels, petrochemicals and char) worth $239.45, with processing costs totaling only about $17 per ton. (This analysis assumes a market price of oil at $75 per barrel and coal at $31 per ton.)  The following figures illustrate the per-unit (per ton of coal) revenues for each of the main products produced from the Charfuel® process:


AMMONIA $ 4.91
BTX $ 87.25
CHAR $ 14.62
CO2 $ 0.23
NAPHTHA $ 98.73
METHANOL $ 29.55
SULFUR $ 4.16


  • Note:  Naphtha is further converted into gasoline, diesel or other liquid fuels.

capital costs

Projected capital costs to design and construct a 5,000 TPD Charfuel® refinery, which produces approximately 350,000 gallons per day of liquid fuels (plus additional volumes of valuable petrochemicals) are approximately $600 million. For comparison, commercial-scale coal-to-liquids plants utilizing the long-available Fischer-Tropsch process require more than $5 billion to design and construct for a plant that produces approximately 1,500,000 gallons of liquid fuels per day (with no production of petrochemicals). Thus, constructing a Charfuel® refinery requires less than ½ the capital cost per gallon of fuel production capacity than a Fischer-Tropsch plant. Projected returns on investment for Charfuel® refineries are, therefore, exceptionally high—far higher than projected returns on investment for Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquids plants.


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