HL Deb 20 May 1931 vol 80 cc1317-34

LORD SANDERSON asked whether His Majesty's Government can give in- formation in regard to the scientific investigations by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on the production of oil from coal. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Question I have to ask is one which was originally set down on the Order Paper by my noble friend Lord Rochester, and your Lordships will be sorry, I am sure, to hear that Lord Rochester is unable through illness to be in your Lordships' House to-day. Therefore I have been asked to raise this Question in his place. The Question is "To ask whether His Majesty's Government can give information in regard to the scientific investigations by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research on the production of oil from coal." I do not propose to make a speech on the subject, as I have no expert knowledge, but we are going to have this afternoon what I am sure your Lordships will recognise as the very great pleasure of hearing the noble Lord, Lord Rutherford, speak on the subject. Your Lordships will, of course, recognise that Lord Rutherford is probably better equipped with expert knowledge on this subject than any other living man.

There are one or two points that occur to me as the merest layman on this matter. Your Lordships will remember that about three weeks ago we had a discussion in your Lordships' House on the question of smoke abatement, and my noble and learned friend the Leader of the House drew—if I may say so—a very alarming picture, and I think a justifiably alarming picture, of the pollution of the atmosphere which takes place and the harm thereby done to health through the burning of raw coal in open fireplaces and of the dangers of the domestic hearth. If it were possible to extract large quantities of oil from coal, I imagine that large quantities of smokeless, or at any rate cleaner, coal would be available, and we might, therefore, be able to retain our open fireplaces without injury to- the health of the community. Again, I suppose there is no doubt that the world supply of oil is strictly limited. Of course everything is limited, but I understand that there are very definite limits to the world supply of oil. If we could increase the supply of oil by extracting it from coal that, no doubt, would be of great advantage to the world. Lastly, there is the ques- tion of the state of the coal mining industry. There is no doubt, I think, that if we could develop this industry of producing oil from coal it would be of great advantage to our mining industry, because obviously one of the reasons for the disastrous state of that industry is the falling off in the demand for coal all over the world. If we could produce oil from coal on a large scale we should not only have a new industry growing up, but the demand for coal would enormously increase, and that would be extremely beneficial to all concerned in the mining industry. For these reasons—and there are undoubtedly many others—I think that it will be of great importance and value to your Lordships if the Government can give us the information for which the noble Lord has asked.


My Lords, in rising to deal with the important questions which Lord Sanderson has asked, I must crave your indulgence, for this is the first time that I have addressed this House. I must also ask for your forbearance if I attempt to explain, I am afraid very inadequately, a somewhat involved and technical subject. It is less than a year ago that I was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, of which the Lord President is the official head. In that interval I have endeavoured to get closely in touch with the work of the Fuel Research Station of that Department. I have visited the station and talked with the experimental staff engaged on the work, and I have also had the advantage of discussing the matter with a certain number of technical members of my Council.

In the first place, we all know that coal is a great natural asset to this country and is practically our only source of power. Formerly, we exported large quantities of this power in the form of coal to foreign nations, and we still have a considerable export trade, but in the last ten years or so a great change has come over the scene. Exports of coal have diminished, but at the same time we have become importers of power in the form of fuel oil amounting roughly to £40,000,000 a year. You all know that oil (and I include, of course, petrol) is a very convenient and flexible source of power and is absolutely neces- sary for many forms of our motor transport, but it seems to me that it is of very great importance to bear in mind that, if our supplies of oil were at any time suddenly cut short, the greater part of our transport services, our aircraft, our naval vessels and the larger vessels of the mercantile marine would be very soon immobilised. It is obvious, therefore, that it is of very great importance to consider carefully the question of the production of oil in this country so as to be independent of other countries. So far as we can see at the present time, the only source of oil in sufficient quantity in this country is our coal. Now coal is not a simple chemical substance, but a very complex one, containing a great many substances, and one type of coal varies very much in its properties from another. Oil that can be extracted from coal is not in the coal but, as your Lordships know, is a product of chemical reaction brought about by heat and, in some cases, by the addition of extraneous substances like hydrogen. With that question I shall deal later.

I should like for a moment to touch upon certain economic considerations, so as to try to put this subject in the right perspective, although the facts are no doubt known to all of your Lordships. Oil comes from a bore in the earth, and either comes out naturally or is pumped out with little expense. It can be conveyed in bulk by pipe lines and by sea for great distances at comparatively small expense. At the present moment the prices of oil fuel are very low. As you know, pure oil can be obtained at prices varying roughly between 50s. and 80s. per ton, and even petrol has been as low as 60s. a ton. Coal, on the other hand, has to be got from the earth by the labour of man, and if you are to convert it into oil a very expensive and elaborate machinery is required and, what is more, a considerable amount of power and labour. The actual pithead price of coal at the present time is about 14s. a ton. I think the consideration of these figures will show you that, under present conditions, it is impossible to convert coal into oil and to compete on a cost basis with natural oil, except to the very limited extent to which oil can be obtained as a by-product of certain special processes. On the other hand, oil was never so cheap as it is to-day. It was only a few years ago that prices were five to ten times as great as they are to-day, and I think there can be little doubt that sooner or later the price of oil will rise. Then the future situation may differ materially from that of to-day.

My interest in this subject is mainly on the scientific side. I should like to point out that it is only by the accumulation of accurate information that the best means of utilising our coal can be determined. Until we have this knowledge it is impossible to say what practical applications will result. It is not my province to speak on the policy that should be adopted to encourage or assist the commercial production of oil from coal, but I should like to point out that a sound policy can only be formulated in the light of knowledge both of the chemical and physical facts which regulate the technical possibilities and of the economic and political circumstances. While the latter may very well change from time to time, and thus properly lead to changes of policy, scientific facts remain unaltered, and the more fully they are known and applied, the more successful is any policy likely to be.

There are two general methods of treating coal by which oil can be obtained. One may be included under the general name of carbonisation, in which coal is heated under certain conditions. The other is hydrogenation, in which coal is heated and hydrogen at high pressure added. The use of carbonisation in the coke ovens has, as your Lordships know, long been practised in this country for the production of coke and gas, and I believe that somewhere about 38,000,000 tons of coal are annually used for this purpose. Apart from the coke and gas, the most important products to be obtained are benzol, which can be used as a blend with petrol, and a certain amount of tar. Methods of what we may call carbonisation or, more particularly, low-temperature carbonisation depend upon the heating of coal in a special retort in which air is not admitted. The products of this carbonisation are coke, gas, a certain amount of liquor, which is mainly water, and also about ten to twenty gallons of tar from each ton of coal, but the amount, of course, depends upon the type of coal that is being applied. In the gas industry in later years it has been customary to heat the coal to a still higher temperature, in order to get a larger amount of gas and a stronger coke. If we treat coal at a low temperature we obtain coke, but we obtain more tar and that is of a different quality from what you obtain from the high temperature methods. It lies between the ordinary natural fuel oil and gas tar. The other product from low-temperature carbonisation is a smokeless fuel, and as your Lordships know it is possible to produce by this method smokeless fuel to burn in the domestic grate as easily as (or more easily than) coal.

It was in 1917, when the Research Department was founded, that the Fuel Research Station was asked to begin experiments on this matter of low temperature carbonisation, for it was believed that by this method we could obtain at the same time smokeless fuel and also a considerable amount of tar which might be converted into oil. The results of these experiments are, I think, well known to many of your Lordships. They have been published. Also the results of the tests by the Fuel Research Station of other methods of carbonisation have been freely published, but certain difficulties arose which made it difficult for this method of low temperature carbonisation to be a general economic success. The reasons are, I think, fairly obvious in the light of later knowledge. In the first place coal is a rather bad conductor of heat, and when the coal is heated in the retort at lower temperatures the heat does not flow in sufficiently rapidly, and so it is necessary to employ rather thin layers of coal, to avoid an unduly lengthy period of heating, with a consequent low throughput compared with the rather elaborate apparatus required for the purpose.

In general there was another difficulty, that the retorts, which were made of cheap metal, were found to distort and require frequent replacement. No doubt that can be and has been improved by the use of better metal, but under those conditions there seems to be a likelihood that the cost of running these retorts will be unduly high. So far, fireclay retorts have been avoided for this purpose, for the reason that it was recognised that any cracks which led to the admission of air were fatal to this process, but the Fuel Research Department has taken up this question during the last year or two and has constructed 'a fireclay retort for low temperature carbonisation which shows great promise. Not only is it cheaper in the initial cost of construction but the amount of coal which can be passed through in a given time is considerably greater. At the same time this fireclay retort can be raised to a higher temperature, and it is possible to investigate the production of coke and tar at intermediate temperatures of 620 degrees Centigrade and gas retort temperatures of over 1,000 degrees. Preliminary experiments have already been made in that direction and it is proposed to take up experiments on a semi-commercial scale to investigate as soon as possible, for the benefit of industry, the conversion of coal into coke and oil at intermediate temperatures, and to study the types of coke and tar produced. So far, this retort has only been in constant use for six months, but the experiments will be continued in the next few years to test the efficacy of this method.

We now come to the question of what is to be done with the tar that is produced from the low temperature carbonisation. First of all it can be used directly as a fuel oil, but it is inferior to the natural fuel oil and consequently there is a very small and limited market for it. During the last year or two a study on a small scale has been made by the Fuel Research Department of the question of whether this tar, which is a by-product of this process, can be converted into oil. At the same time experiments have been made at the Chemical Research Laboratory at Teddington, to investigate in detail the constituents of this tar—the chemical substances contained in it—and their use as a source of fine chemicals. I cannot go into the interesting work done in that direction, but the work is still continuing. In order to convert the whole of the tar into oil, it has to be treated with hydrogen, and when that is done it is found that it can be converted into oil with the entire elimination of pitch and other unwanted substances. You can obtain motor spirit and diesel oil, both of the highest quality, and the proportion can be varied within wide limits. In general, there seems to be no difficulty about this process. Of course it may be expensive to put it through this process, but it is hoped in that way the tar may have a profitable market.

Experiments are going to be conducted in the next year or two, and arrangements have already been made to test the tar on a larger scale, to see whether the conversion into oil can be carried out on a commercial scale. The conversion of the tar into oil requires what are called catalysts, which are nothing more than substances which promote rapid chemical actions of certain types, but themselves are not altered. We know very little about the action of catalysts, and we are not at all sure yet, although many catalysts have been discovered, that we know the best catalyst, and continuous experiment is being made in that direction. The other uses of this material are being examined—namely, to see whether this tar can be converted so as to be used as a road tar, and whether it can be made up into briquettes and so on. Now I must just pass to the old processes of the production of coke—the coke oven and gas retort. These produce tar, and some of this tar can be converted by hydrogenation into useful oils. Another product of this tar, the creosotes, of which at the moment the price has slumped so badly, can be converted by this method into motor spirit, and investigations will be taken up in the next year or so to investigate this matter on a semi-commercial scale.

I now come to the other and, in a sense, the most important method of obtaining oil—namely, the process of hydrogenation. This consists in heating the coal to a temperature of about 450° Centigrade in a vessel which will stand pressure, and adding to it hydrogen at a high pressure, namely 200 atmospheres. As we shall see, reactions occur which lead to the conversion of a large part of the coal into useful oils. It was, however, largely due to the action of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research that, they were able to assist the German inventor Dr. Bergius to develop his method of production of oil from coal and to acquire the use of his method in this country. A plant was obtained from him which allowed about one ton of coal to be used per day and converted into oil. It was found that our own coals—and of this we could not have been sure beforehand—could be converted by this method into oil, and, what is more, as the result of these experiments the methods and processes for this purpose were considerably improved by the Fuel Research Department.

This process of hydrogenation gives motor spirit and heavy oils far in excess of any other method of treatment. Of course, at the moment for the reason I have given—the low price of fuel oils in this country—it cannot directly compete with the prices of imported oil. The technique is difficult, but not particularly difficult, and certainly not more difficult than certain other chemical processes which are in successful commercial operation. The one certain thing that emerges from these experiments is that it is scientifically possible to provide oil by the treatment of coal, and in that way we could hope to provide, not, all, but at any rate the bulk of the oils required for various purposes in this country.

There are thus two methods, carbonisation, in which you obtain coke and gas, and the oil as a by-product, and the other the method of hydrogenation, where a large part of the coal is converted into oils of various kinds. The development of these two processes in this country would have certain advantages. On the one hand, the carbonisation would give us a useful smokeless fuel and some oil, but the advance, apart from the improvement of technical method, depends not upon science but upon how far the nation is prepared to pay for a purer atmosphere. Similarly the development of the hydrogenation method of production of oil from coal depends on how far the nation is prepared to pay for the independence of its oil supplies from other countries.

There is another aspect of the problem which I must. Mention briefly. I have spoken of the various processes that can be used for the production of oil. But in order to apply this on a commercial scale we require to know the nature of our coal seams throughout the country. Coals differ, and for the sort of processes that I have mentioned small quantities of impurity may make great differences in the action. Some may act as catalysts and promote the reactions required, others may inhibit those processes. The ordinary chemical analysis is not sufficient for this purpose, but we require a systematic test of the coal to see how far it can be utilised for these processes. During the last ten years or so there has been a systematic survey of our coal seams by the Fuel Research Department, and a large amount of very interesting information has been obtained. It seems to me highly important that we should carry on and continue with this type of experiment to obtain the maximum information that we can about the nature of our coal seams, which are our national wealth.

In conclusion, I wish to point out that. I am strongly of the opinion that it is in the national interest that researches on the general utilisation of coal for the production of oil and other products should be vigorously prosecuted. We cannot have too much scientific knowledge of this complicated problem. Definite information may at any moment prove of great importance to the nation in making decisions, whether on economic or general political grounds. Research is in essence the exploration of the unknown, and it is impossible to forecast the results of experiment. As we know, experience has shown that research is more likely to be fruitful when guided by views or theories which are based on previous information. Whether such views are correct or not, the work cannot fail to add to knowledge and in many cases—that is the general observation of science—may produce results of value in quite unexpected directions. Even negative results may in some, or in many, cases prove as valuable as positive results, for they may prevent waste of money in attempts to develop processes that are fundamentally unsound. In many respects a full scientific understanding of this complicated problem is more essential to this nation than to any other.


My Lords, I want to say only one or two words because I was interested in this subject when I occupied the position of Civil Lord of the Admiralty—a Service which, of course, depends very largely upon oil. Your Lordships will all agree, I think, that, the speech to which we have listened is one of immense interest. Our only regret is that the members of your Lordships' House were not present in far larger numbers to take advantage of it.

This is a really vital question. Many people at the present time think that the Admiralty were extremely rash in taking to oil and in making no effort whatever to safeguard our supplies. That, of course, is entirely untrue. The Admiralty have given great attention to this subject for a number of years. It is not only the Admiralty which is concerned, but the nation as a whole and, not least of all, the Air Force. But there is one side of the oil question which is very seldom dealt with and is, perhaps, the most important of all. I refer to lubricants. We often talk merely of fuel oil or petrol. But, after all, lubricants come into every question of engineering. Whether it is steam power or anything else, bearings have to be kept oiled in order that there may be sweet running. Those who know the state of the country regarding the question of oil generally will agree, I think, that the question of lubricants is by far the most serious. Practically the whole of the lubricants that come into this country come from one part of the world only—North and Central America. Practically none comes from Persia or elsewhere. That is a very serious situation.

The noble Lord who has just spoken talked about our importing power. I hope the nation will realise what is meant by the importation of power, because there again the whole of our industries are affected. I had hoped the noble Lord would have been able to tell us even more than he has done, because I was under the impression that experiment and research had now arrived at such a stage that we were able almost to say that, provided the Government was prepared to impose a tax on petrol imported into this country and to allow petrol made from coal to go tax free, that industry might be set up almost at once if not now, and that very great assistance would be rendered to the coal industry, amongst others, by the Government being able to adopt that principle. I am afraid there is very little hope of the noble and learned Lord being able to tell us that his Free Trade theories will be (shall I say?) oiled to such an extent as to allow of Protection for home-produced oil. Of course, from the mining point of view, and from the point of view of the Services and of industry generally, it obviously would be of enormous advantage if a real step forward could be made in that direction.

A great many things have to be considered and tried out before we can go the whole length. I do not know whether the noble Lord on the Cross Benches (Lord Rutherford) could tell us whether scientists have now reached a stage when they can say what is the economic unit which can produce oil at the lowest possible price from coal, or whether they have not yet made up their minds whether it would be fifty tons or one hundred tons a day or a great deal more. It might be necessary in the first instance for the State to expend money in that direction. It would be the means of finding work for the unemployed, particularly in the engineering industry, which is very hard hit, and one which, perhaps the most severe members of your Lordships' House would not be inclined to criticise very severely. I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord opposite can enlighten us still further as to whether we have arrived at a stage when we can say what the economic unit for the production of oil is or whether he can tell us that the price is such that a duty on imported oil would enable oil to be produced here from coal. Those points are, I think, of such importance that we should be most grateful if he could give us that information. If he cannot give it to us now, we hope at any rate that the time is fast approaching when we shall be able to arrive at a satisfactory result.


My Lords, I have no intention of addressing your Lordships. I only wish to ask the noble Lord, Lord Rutherford, whether he can answer two questions, arising out of the very interesting speech which he made. The first one is, what is the size of the plant with which they have been experimenting or working on in connection with the first process, that is the carbonisation process? I am afraid I came in after he had commenced his speech; he may have made a statement about that, but I did not hear it—and this, of course, affects the point which has been raised by my noble friend Lord Stanhope regarding what is a commercial economic unit for producing oil. The second one is, could the noble Lord say whether the coke which is the result of that carbonisation process is a coke which can be used in the manufacture of steel, and whether that coke would be very much cheaper, as I presume it would be, than the coke which is used to-day in the manufacture of steel? Those are the two questions to which I shall be very glad if the noble Lord, Lord Rutherford, can reply.


My Lords, I think the first thought of all of us who have been present this afternoon—I wish the House had been more fully attended—is adequately to thank the noble Lord, Lord Rutherford, for the speech he has made and to recognise that we have a new member of our House who is not only supreme in the region of science but can express his views so clearly and so adequately even for the layman. I think it is of special importance in this House that we should have time and opportunity to discuss these far-reaching scientific questions. It is obvious that if we can induce Lord Rutherford to come amongst us and speak on these questions it will be for the great benefit not only of the House but of the country at large.

Before I go into one or two matters of detail—of course I do not intend for a moment to discuss the scientific questions which Lord Rutherford has already brought forward—there are one or two general statements which I think of great importance in approaching the subjects with which Lord Rutherford has dealt. I say that the more readily in that it is Under the Department of the Privy Council over which I preside that all these experiments which the noble Lord has related have been carried out. I often wonder when listening to speeches here whether your Lordships appreciate the immense amount of scientific investigation which is now going on under the control of the Privy Council, and which has been of the greatest possible advantage not only in connection with such matters as we are discussing to-night, but with the whole range of industrial production in this country. This Department has brought about what I think is the real thing we desire, the inter-action of scientific inquiry and industrial work. I dare say your Lordships are aware that a very important document is produced annually showing what the Scientific De- partment of the Privy Council is doing from time to time, but I am afraid there are so many documents of that kind produced it may have escaped the attention of some, at any rate, of your Lordships.

The first utterance of Lord Rutherford that struck me very strongly was this. He said that coal is the only possible source of power indigenous to this country. That is a very important statement indeed, because in old days we flourished very largely by having the command of coal, which made us the great power-producing country of the world. I think we are apt to forget the enormous change which has come over our industrial position owing to the growth of electrical and oil power. Then Lord Rutherford said—I ask your Lordships to consider this very carefully—that scientifically, it is possible to obtain from coal, which has become of less value, the oil that we need. Therefore, we have not only the raw material indigenous here, but, in Lord Rutherford's opinion (and no opinion can have greater weight than his) we can scientifically—I am not now dealing with the economic question—produce from that coal the power that we require by using oil as it is being used at the present time.

I entirely agree with what Lord Rutherford says on another point. It is his duty and knowledge, if I may use those two words, to advise us on scientific questions, while of economic questions he can only give what I may call a general sketch. But surely we must all agree with him that we ought to have every investigation possible in order to prove how far we can utilise our coal to obtain the oil we require as a motive power. I think the noble Earl (Earl Stanhope) would agree with that, particularly from his experience at the Admiralty. Just consider. If we succeeded—and I have had to think about this a good deal—what a splendid success it would be. Here is coal, our only possible source of power, which for the time has been largely superseded. We all know our export trade in coal is very much less than it was. Then we have the greatest living physicist, if I may so call him, coming and telling us that, although coal as a source of power has been superseded, we can scientifically obtain from coal, either by carbonization or by hydrogenation, the power which we require, and which would again make us independent, as we ought to be in this matter of power, of all foreign imports. I do not intend to embark, in spite of the invitation of the noble Earl, Lord Stanhope, on the economic question, because I do not think this is the occasion. I am sure he agrees with me.


No, no.


We want to keep our mind on the problem which Lord Rutherford has stated, and which he has done so much to elucidate in the speech which he made to your Lordships. It is some time ago now, it was in 1915, that the scientific department of the Privy Council was constituted. It has gradually grown into the largest, I believe, of all the physical organisations for scientific purposes which exist anywhere in the world, and at an early stage the question of coal carbonisation or hydrogenation became a matter of scientific inquiry. There were two directions to which this inquiry was directed. On the one hand, as has been pointed out, every effort was made to get a complete picture both of the amount and character of our indigenous coal supply. I think now that is being done. It was commenced in 1917, it was pressed on by successive Governments—of course we all want to get this scientific knowledge—and the organisation for this is now complete throughout the coal fields. That was a first step of enormous importance; but the effect of obtaining that information, I think brought to the mind of everyone how extremely important the further step was that we should ascertain whether, with a fair prospect of success on the scientific side, we could utilise the power which did in fact exist in our coalfields. All that happened as long ago as 1915. We instituted fuel research, which was carried out largely at Greenwich, and from that time the fuel research organisation, under the careful supervision of Dr. Lander, has made a continuous series of experiments on these questions of carbonisation and hydrogenation.

Of course, I entirely agree with the scientific view that Lord Rutherford has expressed, that further experiments are necessary, and that no channel should be left untried in order to see what is the truth about the conversion of our coal into a new source of power. A few months ago, or hardly as long ago as that, the present Government applied a sum of about £40,000, especially to be used for this one purpose in order to see what results may be obtained scientifically. All those questions to which Lord Rutherford referred, such as the form of the furnace and matters of that kind, can only be ascertained by a series of experiments, but the information which I have got—perhaps I am a little more optimistic than Lord Rutherford because I am much less scientific—is hopeful, and indicates that these experiments may be carried out to a successful conclusion. I do not think Lord Rutherford would differ from that, but, quite properly and rightly, with his great scientific knowledge, he has described the scientific side with both its dangers and its possibilities.

Just one word upon the economic side, only to this extent. Suppose, as I am sure Lord Newton would desire, that we did get rid of what has been called the abomination of the smoke nuisance, and there was a general desire and custom to use a form of coal which practically dissipates the difficulties that arise from the open fire, that at once would give an enormous market for one of the products which would come either from the carbonisation or hydrogenation of coal. Personally, I should regard that—Lord Sanderson referred to it—as one of the major advantages which a scientific experiment of this kind would bring to us if it could be carried out in ordinary practice. Again I think, if I may say so without appearing to be presumptuous, that the noble Lord, Lord Rutherford, was quite right in pointing out that as regards oil or petrol much must depend on the conditions of the market at any particular time. But although at one particular time the price might look unsatisfactory for the ultimate economic success of this scientific experiment, yet surely everyone who listened to Lord Rutherford was convinced that it was worth while and would be worth while to carry these scientific experiments to a conclusion in order that we may ascertain, if possible, that if we wanted it, and if prices were economically suitable, oil or tar or petrol might be obtained from an indigenous product in this country. I must say that it appears to me a wonderful outlook if we can substantiate the position—a wonderful outlook if, as I have said, with a product of 50,000,000 tons of coal in the year we could find an important new product giving us a source of power which we have not got at the present time in this country and which, I think, for every reason would be an enormous advantage if we could ensure it in the future.

Then there is the question of lubricants. That, of course, comes into the inquiries and experiments. I have a note here that it is receiving the constant attention of my Department and is one of the matters in reference to which thought must be given and experiments made. I cannot, as I have said, possibly impinge upon the scientific side, but it is an enormous advantage to have bad that dealt with at first hand. Your Lordships have now had a chance of understanding how the position really stands and I sincerely hope that with Lord Rutherford as our leader we shall carry these experiments to a successful issue. If so, we shall carry through one of the greatest industrial advantages from every point of view that this country could be given at the present moment.


My Lords, I should like to thank my noble and learned friend for his answer on behalf of the Government to my Question, and if I may I should like very much to include Lord Rutherford in my thanks for his most interesting and valuable contribution—a contribution, I think I may call it, to the answer of the Government.