The arithmetic shows coal-to-liquid refineries can’t make U.S. more energy independent

COLUMBUS — “Baard Energy says its proposed coal-to-liquid refinery for Wellsville will help the United States become more more energy independent. Sounds great, but the arithmetic doesn’t work. Let’s start at the refinery level. Typically, for every one ton of coal fed into a refinery using this technology, two barrels of liquid fuel come out the other end, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. The Baard Energy proposal is no exception. They say they will use 9.3 million tons of coal a year to produce 53,000 barrels a day of liquid fuel. That works out to 2.08 barrels per ton of coal.

1 ton of coal = 2 barrels of fuel

Now back to energy independence. Imported crude oil is about 60% of U.S. consumption. What would it take, using the coal-to-liquids technology, to displace just 10% of U.S. oil consumption? It would require a 42% increase in U.S. coal production, or 475 million tons more coal every year, to run these refineries, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

This is simply not going to happen. People will not stand for it,” Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.