HC Deb 27 May 1937 vol 324 cc426-7
46. Mr. Roland Robinson

asked the Lord President of the Council the number of processes for the extraction of oil from coal which have been examined by the Fuel Research Board; and in how many cases the Board has advised that there is a possibility of commercial success.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

Tests of 15 plants have been made by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research under the published conditions for testing of plants for the low temperature carbonization of coal. These tests are concerned only with the performance of the plants during the period of test and with the technincal aspects of the processes involved. Reports upon these tests are intended to place accurate technical data in the hands of those interested, and no attempt is made to pronounce on the commercial possibilities of the plants concerned. Experimental work on the production of oil from coal by low temperature carbonization and other methods, such as hydrogenation and synthesis from mixtures of carbon monoxide and oxygen, has also been carried out by the Fuel Research Station as part of its normal programme. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the latest published report of the Fuel Research Board, in which reference is made to this work, and also a copy of the conditions under which tests of low temperature carbonization plants are carried out.

Mr. Mathers

Are the tests with respect to these processes always carried out strictly in accordance with the formulas of the inventors?

Mr. MacDonald

I understand that that is so.

66. Mr. Robinson

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can now state the names of the members of the sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence which has been constituted to examine the various processes for the production of oil from coal having regard to the necessity of security of oil supplies in emergency.

The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given yesterday to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cardiff, East (Mr. T. Morris) by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Coordination of Defence.

Mr. Robinson

Does the sub-committee propose to invite any of the parties to give evidence, and when will it begin its sittings?

Captain Crookshank

I think those questions had better be on the Paper, but I can say in regard to the last that the Committee has already met several times.