Coal-to-Fuel (CTF) sounds great, because we have lots of coal and need lots of jet fuel to keep our jets in the air. We'd love it if we could make more fuel ourselves, and have to buy fewer barrels of oil from less-than-friendly sellers. Trouble is, according to DARPA, current CTF processes are:
"extremely expensive to implement, consume large amounts of water and produce unacceptable amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants."
Now DARPA is putting up some money with the belief that there must be a better way. My guess is, 60 years later, with supercomputers, scanning electron microscopes and a slew of other breakthroughs in pocket, some innovators will soon do much, much better. Stay tuned.
F-15E over Afghanistan photo courtesy of: USAF