I can’t seem to find the original article, so here it is via USAF AIM Points:
The U.S. Air Force is studying whether coal could be used to increase the fuel efficiency of fighter aircraft, according to a service official.
Researchers are examining coal’s potential to expand petroleum-based jet fuel to get more energy out of it, said Col. Mark Stephen, chief of the science and technology division in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering.
“It’s not squeezing coal to get jet fuel out it,” Stephen explained. “It’s really using coal to filter and stretch the jet fuel.”
Meanwhile, here’s a proposal to create deisel and jet fuel from coal itself in Montana:
The process is called Fischer-Tropsch, named for the German scientists who developed the process in the 1920s for converting coal to diesel fuel, which later ran the Nazi war machine. In more recent decades, the process was used in South Africa to fuel its vehicles when the world would not trade with the apartheid nation. It still produces 150,000 barrels of fuel a day from coal. Energy technology firms in the United States and elsewhere have fine-tuned F-T to make both its process and products pollution-free.
The F-T fuels are also clean – no sulfur, mercury or arsenic. Those ingredients are recovered from the process and are marketable byproducts on their own.
Schweitzer said a 150,000 barrel per day unit would cost about $7.5 billion to build. However, F-T units can be built in modules, so a 22,000 barrel per day unit could cost $1.2 billion, he said.
One impetus for the development of the F-T fuel is that the Pentagon wants to have a single battlefield fuel. The F-T product can be used as jet fuel also.