The U.S. Defence Advanced Researh Projects Agency—aka DARPA aka The Guys Who Run Area 51 and Have a Pact with the Aliens to Abduct the Entire Human Race in 2012—has turned its eyes to coal for aeroplane fuel. There's only one problem: coal-to-liquid fuel technologies are too expensive and produce too much pollution. Until now.
DARPA is now aiming for a US$1.5 billion plant that will make 100,000 barrels of fuel per day, while producing zero CO2 emissions and using only 0.5 kilograms of water per kilogram of coal converted—I'm clueless about this, but it seems like an awful lot of water to me, specially compared to the alternative of not flying the airplanes so much. The cost for each gallon of JP-8 jet fuel would be US$3.
Together with extensive tests on alternative synthetic fuel mixes, the US military wants to make its air machinery as green and cost-effective as possible, since petroleum-based fuels are becoming too expensive. Coal reserves in the US, however, can fix this. [Aviation Weekly]