A Brief Comparison to Fisher-Tropsch

High-Energy Conversion

Crude oil refining converts almost 90% of the energy in crude oil to refined products. CharFuel® coal refining converts 85%-90% of the energy in coal into refined products. Other coal conversion technologies are far less efficient than the CharFuel® Process – they produce more carbon dioxide and require process water.
Process / Category Coal-to-Liquid CharFuel®
Basic Process
Gasification / Conversion
Capital Costs Per bbl Capacity of Liquids
Conversion Efficiency
CO2 Production Captured1
Water Usage2
3 bbl H2O per bbl product
No Process H2O
F-T Diesel / F-T Jet Fuel
Distillates / Petrochemicals
Integrated CharFuel® IGCC Plant [graphic]
Integrated CharFuel® / IGCC Plant (TVA)
  1. Hydro-cracking coal produces minimal carbon dioxide.
  2. The CharFuel® Coal Refining Process requires no external process water. Production of ethanol from corn, for example, requires 4+ gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol produced. Fisher-Tropsch coal gasification process requires 3+ gallons of water for every gallon of liquid fuel product. High water consumption processes are undesirable, especially in arid regions, e.g. Wyoming and Montana.
  3. The CharFuel® Coal Refining Process removes pollutants such as sulfur, nitrogen, chlorine, and mercury from the raw coal feedstock and turns them into coproducts that, along with the capture of industrial grade carbon dioxide from the process, are valuable industrial commodities. The CharFuel® Coal Refining Process produces a clean, inexpensive, high BTU feedstock for environmentally compliant, efficient electricity generation (IGCC).

Renewables-Comparison of Energy Sources

An Energy System’s Energy Output is Only as Good as the Energy Density of the Energy Source

What Energy Sources Are Low In Energy Density (LED)?

Wind & Solar

Surprised? Hover to flip this card to learn why wind and solar are low energy density feedstocks.


The energy density of one cubic meter of moving air at 12mph is only 65 Joules (1 Btu = 1,054 Jules). Since you cannot get more energy out of the system than the feedstock, wind is not a viable energy source. The same with solar.

How Does Gasoline, a High Energy Density (HED) Energy Source Compare?

57.2 Billion to 1

Surprised? Hover to flip this card and see the math behind the comparison.

Let's Do The Math

1 Gallon of Gasoline = 110 Million Joules
1 Cubic Meter of Gasoline = 260 US Gallons
1 Cubic Meter of Gasoline = 28,600,000,000 Joules
1 Cubic Meter of Wind Traveling at 12 mph = 65 Joules
Gasoline’s Spacial Energy Density is almost 500 billion Times that of Wind!

Installed Capacity ≠ Power Output

Energy Generated By a System is Not Equal to the Energy Capacity of the System

Surprised? Hover to flip this card and see why wind energy capacity does not equal power output.

High Capital Cost / kWh

Energy in Wind is Only .0578 BTU/CuMtr @ 20 mph
Energy Conversion of a Wind Turbine is Only 20%
Wind Blows 30% of the Time (.0034 BTU/CuMtr @ 20 mph)
= 0.0000010023030575 kWh/CuMtr of Air
brown coal, energy, garzweiler

Comparative Economics of Refining Crude Vs Refining Coal

oil barrel [vector graphic]

Crude Oil

$ 140 92 Product Value
(29% Gross Margin)
  • $74.10 for 1.14 barrels @ $65/BBL ($11.10/MMBTU)
  • $14.77 Refining Cost ($2.58/MMBTU)

Illinois #6 Coal

$ 288 75 Product Value
(65% Gross Margin)
  • $45.20 for 0.96 tonnes @ $47.12/tonne MAF
  • $54.80 Refining Cost ($2.42/MMBTU)

The CharFuel® Coal Refining Process Produces 2.05 Times More Revenue for the Same Investment

Value-Added Process: Baseline Facility Economics

  • Input: $47.12/tonne of Illinois #6 coal (MAF)

  • Process Costs: $57.12/tonne of coal

  • Revenue Per Tonne of Coal: $301.01


* Gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel and Home Heating Oil

mountains, landscape, nature

The CharFuel® Coal Refining Process Yields Compliant, Inexpensive Power

Energy Density in a cubic meter of char

Billion Joules
Remember: a cubic meter of gasoline has 28.600 Billion Joules; while a cubic meter of wind at 12mph has only 22 Joules!

A Ton of Char Contains


and costs

$ 0
Compare: natural gas costs $2.7/MMBTU vs coal costs less than $2.0/MMBTU vs oil costs ≈ $11.8/MMBTU

Char Can be...

Inexpensively transported long distances (no water)

Used in IGCC-compliant-high heat rate generation with NO sulfur emissions and very low CO2 emissions (less than natural gas per kwh)

Constructed on permitted brown field sites

The CharFuel® Coal Refining Facility Financial Highlights

5,000 tpd
Capital Costs
Cash Flow from Operations
Operating / Cash Flow Margin
Internal Rate of Return
Investment Payback Period
2 Years
  • Capital Costs:
    • Derived from Hazen Research Study
    • Does not include start-up, land, or permitting costs.
    • June 2018 commodity prices
  • Internal Rate of Return:
    • 20-year horizon
    • IRR is pre-tax
    • Funded with 100% equity (no debt)

the USA has 247 Billion recoverable tons of coal (~150 years worth)

Energy Independence Can Be a Reality

  • 1980s
    USA produced ≈ 9.2 Million bbls of oil/day and consumed 16 Million bbls/day.

    Gap 6.8 Million bbls/day
  • 2017
    USA imported ≈ 9.1 Million bbls of oil/day

    $70 a barrel is $637 Million/day or $232.5 Billion/year

    Total trade deficit: $566 Billion a year
    Cutting out the import of foreign oil, cut the trade deficit in half
    USA produces 10 Million bbls/day (shale boom) and consumes 20+ Million bbls/day.

    Gap Increases to 10+ Million bbls/day

    Eliminating imported oil would reduce the trade deficit by $195 Billion per year