Research proposals for liquid conversion technologies that can produce JP-8 hydrocarbon fuel directly from coal have been requested by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The request is part of an effort to supply alternate sources of the US military's average fuel requirement of more than 300,000 barrels of petroleum-based liquid fuels per day.
Under the broad agency announcement, the agency says it plans to issue more than $4.5 million in contracts for the work after the proposal period ends next year.
Today's coal conversion plants can produce 150,000 barrels a day of oil from 120,000t of coal, says DARPA, though the two preferred methods produce "unacceptable amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other pollutants".
DARPA is seeking alternative coal to liquid fuel conversion technologies that "offer environmentally friendly, yet efficient" methods for creating fuel from US coal reserves, which DARPA says are estimated to be more than 275 billion tons, a supply that existing coal-to-liquid processes could convert into enough fuel to supply the US armed forces for "several thousand years."