Why in the world would someone want to convert coal into liquid fuels, and make Dale, Ind., the home base for that operation? To hear some tell it in recent letters to the editor, it’s just a fool’s errand – a lost cause. Or – maybe it’s a brilliant idea with a global outlook that sets Indiana up to lead the charge in the United States’ drive toward energy independence.
The bombing of a Saudi Arabian oil field recently should serve as a wake-up call to this fact. That incident sent markets into turmoil and raised the question once again about the world’s vulnerability to oil shortages.
It also reignited another indisputable point: The United States is the Saudi Arabia of one powerful and abundant energy resource – coal.
With the U.S. having the largest coal reserves of any nation on the planet, clean-coal ventures like Riverview’s direct-coal-hydrogenation plant, make tremendous sense economically and strategically. Riverview Energy’s plant in Dale will produce roughly four barrels of fuel for each ton of coal it converts into ultra-low-sulfur diesel. The United States has roughly 253 billion tons of proven, recoverable coal reserves. This means that companies like Riverview Energy are effectively increasing U.S oil reserves by one trillion barrels.
Yes – that’s trillion with a T.
There is a real need in our nation and world for ULSD. Wars have been fought over oil, not coal. Converting coal into ULSD can fuel our military – making it unfazed by foreign oil catastrophes and giving it ready dominance among the world’s forces when oil access is restricted. In all, that can help to tamp down threats to world peace and, when conflict does arise, it can help to restore peace more quickly.
The shipping industry will also benefit tremendously from converting U.S. coal into ULSD. With new fuel regulations beginning in 2020, the shipping industry will be forced to seek new fuel sources. ULSD is a prime solution to the global shipping industry’s incoming spike in demand for clean fuel. And those challenges aren’t anything to dismiss – as the global shipping industry makes up more than 80 percent of the global trade volume, and 70 percent of its economic value.
And then there are jobs.
The direct coal-hydrogenation plant planned for Dale is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 200 high-paying permanent jobs. That’s just one plant. Multiple plants across a region each generating a couple hundred permanent high-paying jobs can be a big boost to a statewide economy, and a game changer for local, struggling economies.
Coal still has a crucial role to play in our energy portfolio – in Indiana and U.S. prosperity. It’s not and never was a villain. In fact, coal helped to build this nation into the strongest in the world. Clean-coal innovations are the next chapter in keeping America clean, safe and the most powerful nation history has ever seen.
Riverview Energy – and Dale – are going to lead the way.
President of Riverview Energy