fact or fiction?
Texas A&M University researchers want to resume the study of
Nazi documents about producing gasoline from coal - a process that
they say may alleviate the United States' dependency on foreign oil.
More than 300 rolls of microfilmed documents dealing with the
process are stored in the university's library, but few have been
translated or read.
The documents detail Germany's research and development of 25
synthetic fuel plants from 1936 through 1945. The plants provided 90
percent of the Nazis' aviation fuel and 68 percent of the rest of
its energy needs, the records show.
After the war, the records were placed under a 30 year
moratorium from the public to prevent the sudden release of radical
technology which might disrupt American businesses.
Texas A&M researchers began gathering and scrutinizing the
documents for practical application in 1975, but the project was
abandoned five years later.
Arnold Krammer, an A&M history professor, told the `Houston
Chronicle' that the documents also record the U.S. government's
short-lived synthetic fuel program.
Two U.S. plants, built in Louisiana, Mo., using Nazi designs
and technology, turned out 200 to 400 barrels of gasoline daily for
as little as 1.6 cents per gallon from 1949 to 1953, according to
U.S. Bureau of Mines records.
That project was shut down by President Eisenhower's
administration, Mr. Krammer, 49, said. "Without question, it was due
to lobbying by oil companies who didn't want the competition," he
China has beaten the U.S. in getting a coal-to-liquid fuel plant built