HC Deb 12 December 1928 vol 223 cc2124-6
64. Sir R. THOMAS

asked the Secretary for Mines if he has any information as to the measure of success which has attended research into the distillation of coal in Germany; whether a process or processes are being used there which yield a high proportion of motor spirit per ton of coal treated, in addition to other important products; whether this process or processes are being worked in this country; and can he give further particulars?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Commodore Douglas King)

I presume that the hon. Member's question relates to the hydrogenation of coal, and coal tar, which has been extensively investigated in Germany and by which comparatively large quantities of motor spirit can be obtained per ton of coal treated. My latest information would, however, indicate that commercial success has not yet been attained. For a brief summary of the position I would refer the hon. Member to page 180 of the Report on Economic and Financial Conditions in Germany issued by the Department of Overseas Trade in June last. An experimental plant for the hydrogenation of coal is working in this country.


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether the statement which was made in a Sunday newspaper last week-end was correct—


That question cannot arise here.


It is pertinent I think. Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether or not the special secret Cabinet Committee have been dealing with the question of low carbonisation, and are we to expect a report before the Christmas Recess?


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether this process is being experimented with by the Fuel Research Department?

Commodore KING

Oh, yes, Sir. The Bergius process is being experimented with at the Fuel Research Department.


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say if any method has been discovered that stands more than three pressures?

Commodore KING

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question on the Paper.


Is it the hon. and gallant Gentleman's opinion that there are processes already established in this country equally as successful as the German process referred to here?

Commodore KING

I cannot compare unlikes. They are two different processes.