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Kelly Theel
Graduate Student Assistant
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Riverside
Liquid Coal: Producing Liquid Fuel from Non-Petroleum Sources

In this problem-based case study, students systematically explore the scientific issues surrounding the application and development of coal-to-liquid fuel technology. An introductory reading from the New York Times highlights the significant impact that federal policy decisions may have on both climate change and national security. Students are then given two primary literature articles that address both scientific and technical considerations surrounding fuel conversion and a set of guiding questions about the articles. Students are asked to identify the major scientific questions related to this topic and then explore how they can find answers to these questions in a chemistry context. The case study is designed to illustrate the direct application of chemical reactions and reaction stoichiometry to a major problem facing society. The case is designed for a first semester/first quarter general chemistry course, and is generally presented after the units on chemical reactions and stoichiometry have been covered.