Re: Don't DROOL on your keyboards...
I've haven't seen any synthetic fuel extracted from coal as of yet. I know Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia was all on about making Methanol out of it during the eighties as he owns much of West Virginia's coal reserves. (Mehtonol=wood alcohol...thus avoiding all the "denaturing laws" which regard Ethanol. (so it can't be black marketed for drinking) Sen. Jay is a Democrat yet everyone says he's a Republican. He spent a record amount of money to gain the seat formerly held by Sen. Jennings Randolph....but after leaving his Governorship of WV his political position as Sen. helps him control the coal supply coming from West Virginia.
As to the question of diesel or even petrol grades of motor fuel jelling in extreme cold weather.....yes it does and I've had first hand experience with that. It will tend to solidify is small flakelets that tend to collect over the surface of the fuel filter. In even more extreme cold it will be so filled with this that it all but stops flowing. (thus what people call jelling) My first experience with this phenomonon was at a house with a fuel oil heating system where the ambient temp was -25 below that night and with the "wind chill" what it was the news paper reoprted a record -68 F below the next morning. We were struggling to replace a burnt out heating tape tied along the 3/8 copper line and getting the insulation back on it working in about 3 minute shifts. Fortunately the electric power supply stayed on that night and the winds didn't blow any trees down over the power lines. In my area natural gas isn't available in every area so people use propane or fuel oil and have fire wood, coal, or those Japanese Kero-heaters for back ups along with gasoline generators.
There was a German man who was a WW2 vet I once talked to at a VW dealership where he worked as the service director. We had a discussion about fuel shortages when I was just a teen. He explained to me that it was common in Europe to have shortages of "one" type of fuel and other substitutes were used to work around that. In the states people were so dependant on a readily availale source of gasoline or diesel that they didn't know how to operate a vehicle on other types.
While talking with him his wife came by to deliver a lunch bag to him and they
told me of the solid fuel trailer they were both familiar with. What he described he likened to a roofers tar melter. The small trailer had an electric cable which joined the vehicle whether car or truck and a hose which attached under the vehicle that went to the carb's air cleaner. The fuel was a square slab of hardened resin and there was an electric tray it sit on inside the trailer's box that heated it to create a rich dense smoke. Inside the box was also an electric fan which drew in outside air thru small ports and stirred the smoke for consistancy to deliver to the motor. He thought it may similar to a low grade of petrol and speculated perhaps 65 octane. He laughed when he talked about having to jump out of the transport truck constantly and help push the truck and trailer over a small rise as the fuel wasn't powerful enough
for that yet ran acceptably on flat land. Then his wife laughed and remembered having to take her drivers test to get her license towing one of those in the late fourties. She went on to say that that was after driving a regular gasoline fueled car over the course the examiner chose for her and then he walked her to this state provided car with this equipment. Finally she got to operate a motor scooter over a small course for that certification.
Interestingly enough she had brought his lunch on a small white Vespa or something that looked quite like one. She was something else. I remember seeing her on ski's one day when 6 inches of snow had fallen and wearing a small back pack with his lunch inside. She was traveling down the middle of the towns main street as the cars had abandoned it.
But these German folks I knew casually never spoke of liquid syn fuel. Perhaps they simply didn't know that what they had then came from that souce. He did speak of "blau gas" occasionally but I think that propane.
He mentioned that in reference to the Graff Zeppelin as it somehow carried it
for a fuel source somehow to back up liquid petrol. I remember that when he was telling his wife about having seen the Zeppelin Haus while in the military.
Today I think Hydrogen on demand in those P.E.M./H.O.D systems will be the next big thing. Hydrogen doesn't have much BTU copared to Propane or Fuel Oil and it takes energy to produce it from water. (always remember that too)
But for a fuel to power a very small commuter vehicle carrying one or two people....which ironically is what most of us carry in a big 4x4 or SUV most of the time.....it may make a difference.
But this is what I can tell you about syn-fuel.