Acids, neutral oils, and pitch were produced by distillation of low- temperature lignite tar and processed to upgrade them into more valuable products. The acids were separated from the distillate and catalytically dealkylated to produce phenol, cresol, and xylenol. Aromatic and naphthene fractions of the neutral oil were converted into phthalic and maleic anhydrides by catalytic hydrodealkylation and vapor-phase oxidation. Paraffins and n-olefins from the neutral oil were processed into alkylbenzene sulfonate, a biodegradable substance. Aromatic materials from the neutral oil were also extracted with organic compounds and the extract hydrogenated under pressure to produce jet fuel. The pitch was processed by various means to change its characteristics and make it suitable for similar applications as high-temperature tar pitch, including prparation of carbon black and metallurgical electrodes. In most cases, products obtained from the low-temperature tar were examined for physical and chemical characteristics and for potential commercial utility. Information obtained from this research would be helpful if a new coal-chemical industry based on tar utilization were established.
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