Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #552 Update on “The Formula” and the Standard‑I.G. Agreement of 1929

MP3 One Seg­ment
NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #s 551 and 552 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

The For­mu­la
by Steve Sha­gan

The For­mu­la (MGM, 1980)
Direct­ed by John G. Avild­sen
Star­ring George C. Scott, Mar­lon Bran­do

1. As Mr. Emory had fore­cast in, among oth­er pro­grams, FTRs 278, 385, and 506, the hydro­gena­tion process that was at the core of the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 is once again emerg­ing as a com­mer­cial­ly viable process for the man­u­fac­ture of motor fuel. With the price of oil being as high as it is now, the process is being uti­lized to turn a vari­ety of mate­ri­als into oil, includ­ing coal, the orig­i­nal source mate­r­i­al for the hydro­gena­tion process as devel­oped by I.G. Far­ben in the ear­ly 1920’s. A con­sor­tium of Euro­pean com­pa­nies is work­ing to exploit the coal-to-liq­uid vari­ant of the Fish­er-Trop­sch (hydro­gena­tion) process in order to man­u­fac­ture clean-burn­ing diesel fuel. In this con­text, do not over­look the fact that the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work con­trols the major Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions, as dis­cussed in FTR#305.

“Daim­ler­Chrysler, Renault, Roy­al Dutch Shell, Sasol Chevron and the Volk­swa­gen group are launch­ing an asso­ci­a­tion-The Alliance for Syn­thet­ic Fuels in Europe (ASFE)-to pro­mote syn­thet­ic fuels in Europe and to sup­port research, demon­stra­tion projects, and pub­lic-pri­vate coop­er­a­tion in the area. ASFE is focus­ing on syn­thet­ic fuels made with the Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch (FT) process from nat­ur­al gas (Gas-to-Liq­uids, GTL), coal (Coal-to-Liq­uids, CTL) or bio­mass (Bio­mass-to-Liq­uids, BTL). The Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch process pro­duces a range of near-zero sul­fur and aro­mat­ics trans­port fuels and chem­i­cals. Of the three process­es, GTL is the most com­mer­cial­ly advanced, with a few major of plants being built or planned world­wide and the prospect of increas­ing prod­uct avail­abil­i­ty from 2006 onwards. BTL-‘second-generation biofuels’-needs fur­ther R&D invest­ment is of great inter­est to Euro­pean pol­i­cy­mak­ers.”

(“Alliance for Syn­thet­ic Fuels Launch­es in Europe”; 3/7/2006; GreenCarCongress.com)

2. “While the fuels result­ing from the Fis­ch­er-Trop­sch process are clean­er-burn­ing in oper­a­tion, there­by result­ing in reduc­tions in tailpipe emis­sions (par­tic­u­late mat­ter, oxides of nitro­gen, car­bon monox­ide and hydro­car­bons), the pro­duc­tion process itself is ener­gy-inten­sive and can throw off a large amount of car­bon diox­ide. The use of CTL or GTL fuels results in green­house-gas emis­sions com­pa­ra­ble to those pro­duced by burn­ing petro­le­um-based fuels, while the F‑T fuels pro­duced from bio­mass can con­tribute to vehic­u­lar green­house gas reduc­tions of up to 90%-an impor­tant aspect of the fuel for Euro­pean automak­ers, who must meet reduced CO2 emis­sion stan­dards.”


3. Review­ing infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in FTR#544, we view how anoth­er vari­ant of the process—gas-to-liquid or GTL– is being uti­lized to turn nat­ur­al gas into motor fuel. Note that many of the major oil com­pa­nies, includ­ing Exxon­Mo­bil and Chevron—both mem­bers of the old Stan­dard Oil Trust—are involved in the devel­op­ment of this tech­nol­o­gy.

“A nov­el way to cre­ate an ultra-clean fuel for cars that uses nat­ur­al gas instead of oil is on the verge of rapid growth, ana­lysts say, dri­ven by soar­ing oil prices and a thirst for alter­na­tive fuels. Oil com­pa­nies are invest­ing bil­lions in the nascent tech­nol­o­gy, called ‘gas-to-liq­uids’ or GTL, which can be used to pro­duce qual­i­ty diesel and a range of oth­er prod­ucts nor­mal­ly derived from crude. The process was devel­oped in Nazi Ger­many and apartheid South Africa, but in a few weeks will be test­ed on a com­mer­cial scale for the first time when the largest plant so far opens in Qatar. [Empha­sis added.] The Oryx GTL plant, a joint ven­ture between South Africa’s Sasol and Qatar Petro­le­um, is being watched close­ly by com­peti­tors and investors look­ing for the next big thing in ener­gy. . . . Car­mak­ers are also inter­est­ed. Roy­al Dutch Shell is work­ing with Toy­ota, Volk­swa­gen and Daim­ler­Chrysler to cre­ate vehi­cles that run on pure GTL diesel, which com­bines high pow­er with extreme­ly low emis­sions. . . . Shell and Exxon­Mo­bil plan to build much larg­er GTL plants in Qatar. . . . Nige­ria has a plant under con­struc­tion, built by Sasol and Chevron. BP plans to build a plant in Colom­bia. . . .”

(“Oil Giants Look to Gas Alter­na­tive” by Thomas Catan; The Finan­cial Times; 3/6/2006; p. 15.)

4. A pre­vi­ous Finan­cial Times arti­cle dis­cussed the gen­e­sis of the GTL process:

“To be sure, GTL has been around for a while. The basic process was invent­ed in the 1920’s and then devel­oped by Nazi Ger­many and apartheid South Africa—both of which had prob­lems get­ting enough petrol for their vehi­cles. Ini­tial­ly, it was used to turn coal into a liq­uid. [Empha­sis added.] Today, it is used to turn nat­ur­al gas into a clean burn­ing fuel for use in diesel engines, naptha, lubri­cants and a range of oth­er prod­ucts. . . . .”

(“Ambi­tion to Become the World Cap­i­tal of Nov­el Technology—Gas-to-Liquid” by Thomas Catan; The Finan­cial Times; 5/19/2005.)

5. Next, the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion from FTR#385. In that pro­gram, Mr. Emory dis­cussed the back­ground of the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment. (More back­ground infor­ma­tion about this agree­ment is pre­sent­ed in FTR#506.) The Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 was sim­i­lar, in cer­tain respects, to what has become known as a “debt-equi­ty swap.” I.G. had invest­ed a great deal of cap­i­tal into “R&D” (research and devel­op­ment) of the hydro­gena­tion process in order to uti­lize Ger­many’s large coal reserves to syn­the­size oil—Germany has no domes­tic petro­le­um reserves. As a result of its enor­mous expen­di­tures in this regard, I.G. Far­ben’s finan­cial sit­u­a­tion was pre­car­i­ous. Stan­dard Oil of New Jersey–the most impor­tant of the Stan­dard firms (lat­er Exxon, now Exxon-Mobil)–recognized that the suc­cess­ful devel­op­ment of the hydro­gena­tion process had the poten­tial to threat­en its prof­it posi­tion by free­ing indus­tri­al economies from depen­dence on nat­u­ral­ly-pro­duced oil. The two com­pa­nies nego­ti­at­ed the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment of 1929—satisfying the needs of both com­pa­nies.

Through this agree­ment, I.G. Far­ben received: a sig­nif­i­cant block of Stan­dard of New Jer­sey’s stock (mak­ing it the sec­ond largest stock hold­er in the firm behind the Rock­e­feller fam­i­ly), as well as the right to pro­duce and mar­ket syn­thet­ic fuel devel­oped by hydro­gena­tion in Ger­many only. This gave I.G. Far­ben bad­ly need­ed cap­i­tal and guar­an­teed Ger­many’s access to hydro­gena­tion-pro­duced syn­thet­ic oil.

Through this agree­ment, Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey received: the exclu­sive right to pro­duce and mar­ket syn­thet­ic oil devel­oped through the hydro­gena­tion process every­where but in Ger­many. This assured Stan­dard­’s prof­it posi­tion by pro­tect­ing against the poten­tial threat posed by syn­thet­ic oil.

6. Dur­ing World War II, I.G. Far­ben’s hydro­gena­tion plants pro­vid­ed Ger­many with the bulk of its fuel, thus real­iz­ing some of the poten­tial of the Standard‑I.G. Agree­ment. The 1944 aer­i­al cam­paign against the largest of those plants, the giant I.G. facil­i­ty at Leu­na, was one of the piv­otal engage­ments of the air war in West­ern Europe. “The Bat­tle of Leu­na” was instru­men­tal in crip­pling Ger­many’s war machine. Although Ger­many man­aged to keep the plant oper­at­ing by can­ni­bal­iz­ing equip­ment from oth­er hydro­gena­tion facil­i­ties, the result­ing dam­age to the over­all syn­thet­ic oil pro­gram was a deci­sive ele­ment in the destruc­tion of the fuel for Ger­many’s war machine.
(“The Bat­tle of Leu­na” is dis­cussed in FTR#506. See also: The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; by Joseph Borkin; The Free Press [Macmil­lan]; Copy­right 1978 [HC]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0; pp. 128–30.)

7. In the ear­ly 1990’s, the Leu­na refin­ery (which had been rebuilt by the Sovi­ets after the war) became the focal point of a com­plex deal involv­ing the French oil firm ELF-Aquitaine, the Thyssen heavy indus­tri­al firm and the Sau­di Ara­bi­an arma­ments indus­try. This deal, in turn, is at the cen­ter of an ongo­ing scan­dal in Ger­many involv­ing polit­i­cal pay­outs to the CDU par­ty of for­mer Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl, bribes alleged­ly made by French politi­cians, kick­backs involv­ing pow­er­ful Cana­di­an polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic inter­ests, and the intel­li­gence ser­vices of numer­ous coun­tries. In turn, the CDU fund­ing scan­dal is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Under­ground Reich. (For more about the CDU fund­ing scan­dal, see FTR#‘s 193, 276, 278.) The intense inter­est on the part of major polit­i­cal and indus­tri­al inter­ests in this ren­o­vat­ed Sec­ond World War facil­i­ty is of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance in this con­text. Most of the indus­tri­al infra­struc­ture of the for­mer East Ger­many was bought out and liq­ui­dat­ed (with enor­mous resul­tant hard­ship for the cit­i­zens of that part of Ger­many) short­ly after reuni­fi­ca­tion. In con­trast, the for­mer I.G. facil­i­ty at Leu­na was con­sid­ered a valu­able prize. The maneu­ver­ing around the Leu­na facil­i­ty and the CDU fund­ing scan­dal was instru­men­tal in con­vinc­ing Mr. Emory that The For­mu­la was of more than mere lit­er­ary sig­nif­i­cance. It con­vinced him that that fact-based nov­el would have to be dis­cussed at some future point.

8. The nov­el The For­mu­la revolves around the for­mu­la for a cat­a­lyst (“the Man­gan Cat­a­lyst”) devel­oped by I.G. Far­ben as part of its “Gen­e­sis Project.” The sig­nif­i­cance of the project lies in the fact that it great­ly improved the effi­cien­cy of the hydro­gena­tion process, stream­lin­ing Ger­many’s syn­thet­ic fuel pro­duc­tion capac­i­ty and (poten­tial­ly) mak­ing the hydro­gena­tion process eco­nom­i­cal­ly com­pet­i­tive with nat­u­ral­ly-pro­duced petro­le­um. In the nov­el, the post-1973 increase in the price of oil makes the “For­mu­la” a piv­ot-point of clan­des­tine intrigue. Con­sid­er the sig­nif­i­cance of the hypo­thet­i­cal exis­tence of such a for­mu­la. It would: poten­tial­ly con­trol petro­le­um-pro­duc­ing coun­tries (includ­ing the for­mer USSR and the Mid­dle-East oil king­doms) by threat­en­ing their eco­nom­ic foun­da­tion; offer the key to manip­u­lat­ing the economies of non-oil pro­duc­ing indus­tri­al economies by poten­tial­ly free­ing them from the need to import oil; con­trol the “prof­it posi­tion” of the major oil com­pa­nies; and legal­ly free­ing Ger­many from the need to import oil—I.G.‘s suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies would have retained the right to pro­duce hydro­gena­tion-derived oil. Giv­en the improve­ments in organ­ic chem­istry and oth­er tech­nolo­gies in years since World War II, it seems unlike­ly that some­thing like the “Man­gan Cat­a­lyst” (or an anal­o­gous tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment) would not have been devel­oped.

9. In the con­text of the emphat­i­cal­ly hypo­thet­i­cal, inter­roga­to­ry nature of FTR#385, one should not lose sight of the fact that the world’s nat­ur­al petro­le­um reserves are lim­it­ed, and will be exhaust­ed with­in a few decades. The moti­va­tion of the petro­le­um-pro­duc­ing coun­tries and the oil com­pa­nies them­selves to extract the remain­ing oil from the ground at “top dol­lar” before bow­ing to the inevitable would, there­fore, be con­sid­er­able under the cir­cum­stances. This should be eval­u­at­ed as one delves into the text and sub­stance of this fact-based work of fic­tion. IN THIS CONTEXT, IT IS ALSO OF MORE THAN PASSING INTEREST THAT HIS ENERGY CONSULTANTS (A SUBSIDIARY OF THYSSEN INDUSTRIES) IS THE EPICENTER OF THE “PEAK OIL” HYPOTHESIS. THIS IS THE CONTENTION THAT THE WORLD’S OIL SUPPLY IS ALREADY NEARING EXHAUSTION. WITH THYSSEN HAVING PURCHASED THE LEUNA FACILITY IN THE EARLY 1990’S, IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THYSSEN STANDS MUCH TO GAIN FROM A COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF THE HYDROGENATION PROCESS. NOTE ALSO THAT THE ROCKEFELLERS OWN A MAJOR SHARE IN THYSSEN. OF COURSE, THE ROCKEFELLERS ARE PRINCIPAL OWNERS OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANIES, ALONG WITH THE BORMANN CAPITAL NETWORK. FOR MORE ABOUT THE PEAK OIL SCAM, THYSSEN, HIS ENERGY CONSULTANTS, AND THE LEUNA FACILITY, SEE FTR#506. FOR MORE ABOUT THE BORMANN CAPITAL NETWORK’S PARTICIPATION IN STANDARD OIL, SEE FTR#305.

10. In one of The For­mu­la’s cli­mac­tic moments, “Steif­fel” reveals to “Caine” the future of the “Man­gan cat­a­lyst,” and the hydro­gena­tion process. In this con­text, as well, it is inter­est­ing to con­tem­plate the Bush admin­is­tra­tion’s renewed empha­sis on coal pro­duc­tion. (See, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR#289.)

“Steif­fel walked up to the big glass win­dow, and Bar­ney sat down in a chair fac­ing the cir­cu­lar desk. ‘Don’t feel too dis­heart­ened, son,’ Steif­fel said, turn­ing to Bar­ney. ‘We will man­u­fac­ture syn­thet­ic fuel. And in great quan­ti­ty. We already own most of the coal in the coun­try. We know what’s com­ing. We have the for­mu­la. We have the Man­gan cat­a­lyst, and we have the tech­nol­o­gy. But we must be cer­tain of prof­it. By 1990, the coun­try will be on its knees to OPEC. The gov­ern­ment will then turn to us. And in their des­per­a­tion they will insure our prof­it posi­tion in the man­u­fac­ture of syn­thet­ic fuel.’ ”

” ‘Nice,’ Bar­ney said.”

” ‘Busi­ness,’ Steif­fel replied, ‘just busi­ness.’ He crossed from the win­dow and walked toward Bar­ney. ‘We are a team of giants nurs­ing the lul­la­by of the mass­es.’ ”

“Steif­fel sat down on the sofa oppo­site Bar­ney and peered across at him in the dim light. ‘You must­n’t think of us as evil, rapa­cious men, cling­ing to the keys of our num­bered Swiss accounts. On the con­trary, we are a small fam­i­ly of sim­ple busi­ness­men seek­ing only the tran­quil pur­suit of prof­it. And we take great care to bestow suf­fi­cient largess on the cit­i­zens.’ ”

(The For­mu­la; by Steve Sha­gan; Copy­right 1979 Cirand­in­ha Pro­duc­tions, Inc.; Soft Cov­er edi­tion pub­lished in 1980 by Ban­tam Books; 0–553-13801–4; pp. 330–331.)

11. In this same scene, Steif­fel explains the polit­i­cal eco­nom­ics of the hydro­gena­tion process and the Man­gan cat­a­lyst. Does this dynam­ic mir­ror real­i­ty?

” ‘Why?’ Bar­ney asked. ‘What’s wrong with mak­ing Amer­i­ca self-suf­fi­cient in syn­thet­ic fuel?’ ”

“The old man stared at Bar­ney with a look of total won­der. ‘Do you hon­est­ly expect a three-hun­dred-bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try to under­mine its own stake in the lucra­tive scarci­ty of oil by mass-pro­duc­ing syn­thet­ic fuel?’ ”

“Steif­fel walked back to his desk and sat down. ‘We’ve had that for­mu­la in our pos­ses­sion since the con­clu­sion of the war. British Intel­li­gence turned it over to our chemists in ear­ly ’46. We even import­ed a few Ger­man sci­en­tists to build pilot hydro­gena­tion plants, to be cer­tain the process was eco­nom­i­cal­ly unsound. We ter­mi­nat­ed those plants in ’56. But’—he paused—‘that was twen­ty-two years ago. Things change. The price of crude oil has risen dra­mat­i­cal­ly since ’73, mak­ing the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic fuel an eco­nom­ic pos­si­bil­i­ty. The Gen­e­sis For­mu­la makes it an eco­nom­ic real­i­ty. There­fore, we could not risk the for­mu­la falling into the wrong hands.’ ”

(Ibid.; pp. 326–327.)

12. It has been said that “art imi­tates life.” Indeed. Per­haps the reverse is true as well. As we peer into the dark­ness of the future, con­sid­er “Caine’s” con­fronta­tion with “the old man”—“Barney Steif­fel.” It is impor­tant to remem­ber that the vio­lence in the Mid­dle East—including the inva­sion of Iraq—is one of the fac­tors dri­ving up the price of oil and, as a result, mak­ing syn­thet­i­cal­ly pro­duced oil more com­pet­i­tive with oil tak­en straight from the ground.

” ‘What hap­pens when there’s no more prof­it left to squeeze from the cit­i­zens? When the whole god­damn world is on its knees?’ Bar­ney asked angri­ly.”

“The old man looked up at the ceil­ing for a moment, then stared at Bar­ney. ‘In that case, the car­tel per­forms its his­toric duty. We unleash the dogs of war. There are those times when war is both eco­nom­i­cal­ly and eco­log­i­cal­ly nec­es­sary for the ulti­mate sur­vival of the species.’

[Empha­sis added.] (Ibid.; p. 331.)

13. Lend­ing sub­stance and con­sid­er­able cred­i­bil­i­ty to Mr. Emory’s mus­ings about the pos­si­ble exis­tence of a tech­nol­o­gy anal­o­gous to the Man­gan cat­a­lyst, a recent arti­cle not­ed that two U.S. researchers have intro­duced a cat­alyt­ic process to make the con­ver­sion of coal into oil (CTL tech­nol­o­gy) more effi­cient and eco­nom­i­cal­ly viable. Have they inno­cent­ly dupli­cat­ed a pre­vi­ous­ly-exist­ing tech­nol­o­gy? Or did some­one deliv­er the cat­alyt­ic process to the researchers “in a brown paper bag?”

“As the cost of oil soars and wor­ries over the U.S. depen­dence on for­eign petro­le­um esca­late, coal is becom­ing an increas­ing­ly attrac­tive alter­na­tive as a feed­stock to make a range of fuels. Now chemists have invent­ed a new cat­alyt­ic process that could increase the yield of a clean form of diesel made from coal. The method, described in the cur­rent issue of the jour­nal Sci­ence, uses a pair of cat­a­lysts to improve the yield of diesel fuel from Fis­ch­er-Trop­schs (F- T) syn­the­sis, a near­ly cen­tu­ry-old chem­i­cal tech­nique for react­ing car­bon , monox­ide and hydro­gen to make hydro­car­bons. The mix­ture of gas­es is pro­duced by heat­ing coal. Although Ger­many used the process dur­ing World War II to con­vert coal to fuel for its mil­i­tary vehi­cles, F‑T syn­the­sis has gen­er­al­ly been too expen­sive to com­pete with oil. [Empha­sis added.]”

(“Clean Diesel from Coal” by Kevin Bullis; Tech­nol­o­gy Review; 4/19/06.)

14. “Part of the prob­lem with the F‑T process is that it pro­duces a mix­ture of hydro­car­bons — many of which are not use­ful as fuel. But in the recent research, Alan Gold­man, pro­fes­sor of chem­istry and chem­i­cal biol­o­gy at Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty, and Mau­rice Brookhart pro­fes­sor of chem­istry at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill, use cat­a­lysts to con­vert these unde­sir­able hydro­car­bons into diesel. The cat­a­lysts work by rear­rang­ing the car­bon atoms, trans­form­ing six-car­bon atom hydro­car­bons, for exam­ple, into two- and ten-car­bon atom hydro­car­bons. The ten-car­bon ver­sion can pow­er diesel engines. The first cat­a­lyst removes hydro­gen atoms, which allows the sec­ond cat­a­lyst to rearrange the car­bon atoms. Then the first cat­a­lyst restores the hydro­gen, to form fuel. Diesel fuel pro­duced in this way has sev­er­al poten­tial advan­tages. Ordi­nary diesel con­tains mol­e­cules, called aro­mat­ics, that, when com­bust­ed, pro­duce par­tic­u­lates, Gold­man says. But the diesel formed by the new cat­a­lysts does not include aro­mat­ics, so it burns much clean­er, over­com­ing one of the major objec­tions to diesel fuel. This could lead to more vehi­cles using diesel engines, which are about 30 per­cent more effi­cient than gaso­line engines.”


15. “But the biggest advan­tage may be that the Unit­ed States has huge amounts of coal: ‘We have as much ener­gy in coal as the rest of the world has in oil. That’s enough to last us the next hun­dred years or so,’ Gold­man says. ‘Thus, a more effi­cient, and so less expen­sive method of con­vert­ing coal to diesel could sig­nif­i­cant­ly cut U.S. depen­dence on for­eign oil, and do so for a long time.”



One comment for “FTR #552 Update on “The Formula” and the Standard‑I.G. Agreement of 1929”

  1. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-researchers-develop-revolutionary-alternative-fuel-process/

    Israeli researchers devel­op rev­o­lu­tion­ary alter­na­tive fuel process
    Ben-Guri­on Uni­ver­si­ty team claims break­through in pro­duc­ing liq­uid fuel from hydro­gen and car­bon diox­ide, pre­dicts com­mer­cial via­bil­i­ty with­in a decade
    By Spencer Ho Novem­ber 13, 2013, 6:03 pm 4

    Israeli uni­ver­si­ty researchers say they have dis­cov­ered a rev­o­lu­tion­ary method for pro­duc­ing alter­na­tive liq­uid fuel from two of the most com­mon sub­stances on earth, hydro­gen and car­bon diox­ide.

    The new process will become the dom­i­nant tech­nol­o­gy by which liq­uid fuel is pro­duced, Ben-Guri­on Uni­ver­si­ty of the Negev’s Prof. Moti Her­skowitz, the Israel Cohen Chair in Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing and VP and dean of R&D, said in a state­ment, as such tech­niques as “car­bon diox­ide cap­ture from var­i­ous sources includ­ing air and water split­ting, become tech­no­log­i­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble.”

    The process was devel­oped by Her­skowitz, Prof. Miron Lan­dau, Dr. Rox­ana Vidruk and a team at BGU’s Blech­n­er Cen­ter of Indus­tri­al Catal­y­sis and Process Devel­op­ment.

    The world is in great need of a sus­tain­able alter­na­tive fuel source because crude oil has lim­it­ed avail­abil­i­ty and turn­ing it into liq­uid fuel caus­es sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the atmos­phere, while the cur­rent alter­na­tives are sim­ply not tak­ing hold. For instance, the Unit­ed States Ener­gy Infor­ma­tion Admin­is­tra­tion has pre­dict­ed that that by 2035 elec­tric cars will account for less than 5% of the total sales, accord­ing to the state­ment.

    The BGU team believes that their new dis­cov­ery can be the solu­tion because it does not face the same tech­no­log­i­cal road­blocks as elec­tric cars and oth­er alter­na­tive fuel options, specif­i­cal­ly pro­duc­tion and deliv­ery infra­struc­ture. Their “green feed,” made from the two sub­stances, is sim­i­lar in sub­stance to syn­thet­ic crude oil and could be turned into a liq­uid fuel using the same tech­nol­o­gy used for con­vert­ing syn­crude and sub­se­quent­ly deliv­ered to gas sta­tions using cur­rent infra­struc­ture.

    The researchers acknowl­edge that not all of the tech­nol­o­gy is in place to make the ven­ture imme­di­ate­ly fea­si­ble in its ide­al form. Specif­i­cal­ly, water split­ting tech­nol­o­gy that would make the cost of pro­duc­ing hydro­gen com­pet­i­tive with that of nat­ur­al gas has yet to be devel­oped.

    How­ev­er, they believe that the process could be imple­ment­ed in stages, “begin­ning with car­bon diox­ide, water and nat­ur­al gas, bio­mass or bio-gas as the start­ing prod­ucts and ulti­mate­ly evolv­ing into a tech­nol­o­gy that requires only car­bon diox­ide derived from the atmos­phere and water.”

    Her­skowitz said he was con­fi­dent the new tech­nique, which could make use of estab­lished and com­mer­cial­ly avail­able tech­nol­o­gy, would become a real­i­ty with­in five to ten years.

    Her­skowitz unveiled the break­through with a pre­sen­ta­tion at Bloomberg Fuel Choic­es Sum­mit in Tel Aviv on Wednes­day.

    Posted by Vanfield | November 13, 2013, 9:19 am

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