History of Gasification

Gasification for the Development of Liquid Transportation Fuels

  Franz Fischer at work in 1918
  Franz Fischer at work in 1918
(source: Fischer-Tropsch Archive)
  German Synthetic Fuel Plant
  German Synthetic Fuel Plant
Synthetic fuel plant in Germany after being bombed during WWII.
(source: Fischer-Tropsch Archive)

The next major stage of development in gasification began in Germany in the years preceding World War II, when processes were developed to refine syngas produced by gasification into liquid fuels.

By the 1920s, Germany had realized its dependence on imported petroleum as a result of the blockades of World War I. The war had also depleted Germany’s economic ability to purchase foreign oil. Amid world wide rumors that petroleum reserves would soon run out, Germany decided to develop a means for producing liquid petroleum fuels from their substantial coal reserves.

During the years 1910 to 1925, German Friedrich Bergius developed a process of high pressure coal hydrogenation or liquefaction; known as the Bergius process, to convert coal into liquid fuels. German scientists Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch developed a second process for this purpose which now takes their name, the Fischer-Tropsch process, in which syngas produced from coal could be processed into liquid fuels.[1] By the time World War II ended in 1945, 12 coal hydrogenation plants and nine Fischer-Tropsch plants were constructed in Germany.[2]


Fischer-Tropsch Archive
The German Chemical Industry in the Twentieth Century, John E. Lesch, pgs. 147-8

 Gasification Background


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