Having blitzed its way across the European continent during World War II, the German military began to exhaust its supplies of petroleum, prompting industry to research other ways of manufacturing fuel.
By harnessing a chemical synthesis technique scientists were able to create a synthetic fuel known as syngas, manufactured through the gasification of coal and provided a reliable alternative to conventional fuels.
Taking note of Germany’s efforts, America began to develop its own syngas during the war. With oil in tight supply and the demand for petroleum rising, the US Bureau of Mines began experimenting with coal hydrogenation, the fundamental process that leading German chemist Friedrich Bergius had first discovered in 1921. This led to the passing of the Synthetic Fuels Act and further development of synthetic fuels as an alternative to conventional petroleum.
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