A program of research aimed specifically at producing a clean utility liquid fuel from coal was initiated at the federal Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Energy Research Center, several years ago that led to the development of the synthoil process. In this process, coal is liquefied and desulfurized in one step by catalytic hydrotreatment in a novel turbulent-flow, packed-bed reactor. A turbulent flow of h2 through the reactor prevents the mineral matter of coal from settling out and plugging the reactor. It also promotes mass and heat transfer and helps keep the catalyst surface clean. Designed primarily for producing a utility fuel, the process is adaptable to the production of diesel fuel, naphtha, and gasoline.
Energy Comm., V. 1, No. 1, PP. 21-36