§ Mr. L. SMITH
asked the Secretary for Mines if he is now in a position to state 559W what have been the results of the commercial hydrogenation of coal in Germany; and what is the present output and protection given?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
Inquiries which I have made indicate that the first plant on a commercial scale for operating the hydrogenation process was erected by the I.G. Farbenindustrie at Leuna in 1926, and commenced operating in 1927 on brown coal or lignite. This material was used until 1929 when, for a time, it was found more economic to utilise tars obtained by the low temperature carbonisation of brown coal, and still later to include also indigenous crude petroleum. In 1932 brown coal was again used directly as a raw material for the hydrogenation process. I have been furnished by Imperial Chemical Industries, Limited, with information on the authority of I.G. Farbenindustrie which indicates that the production at Leuna has, during the past 12 months, been between 100,000 to 120,000 tons of petrol per annum, 25,000 tons being obtained directly from brown coal and the balance from crude petroleum, tar, etc. The experience of Imperial Chemical Industries, Limited, is that bituminous coal is technically a better raw material than brown coal, and I.G. Farbenindustrie agree that many bituminous coals are as satisfactory as the brown coals they are using, and which they hope to make their major raw material. In commercial enterprise, other factors have to be taken into account besides the purely technical amenability of the coals, and the proximity of the already existing I.G. Farbenindustrie works to the very large German brown coal deposits was, it is understood, one of the main reasons for the establishment of their hydrogenation plant to operate on this material. Information from official sources indicates that the preference granted to petrol produced from indigenous materials has varied from time to time. The present rate of Customs Duty on petrol imported is 17RM. per 100 Kg. In assessing duty the weight of containers is included in the case of petrol imported in cans, and in the case of bulk supplies the duty is increased by 25 per cent. or 29 per cent. according to the density of the petrol. This would give a total rate of duty on bulk supplies of 21.25 RM., or 21.93 RM. per 100 Kg. The present Excise Duty is 3. 8 RM. per 100 Kg. The present rate of preference is thus 17.45 RM., or 18.13 RM. per 100 Kg.