§ Mr. Ray Powell
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the amount of research and development taking place sponsored by the oil, gas and coal industries and by the Government and others into the abstraction of by-products from coal, such as gasification, liquefaction, oil, gas, chemicals, petrol and other premium products; and what was the amount spent in research and development in each of the last 10 years.
§ Mr. John Moore
British Gas has a major long-term programme to develop processes to manufacture substitute natural gas and within this are constructing a commercially sized version of the slagging gasifier at its Westfield development centre.
The NCB has devised two processes to produce transport fuels from coal and Government has made a major contribution to the cost of design studies for pilot plants to develop these processes.
The NCB is also participating in an IEA project on coal pyrolysis aimed at liquid and gaseous products. The Government have provided a major portion of the United Kingdom's contribution to the project.
The following table shows the annual expenditure by the BGC and the NCB on the abstraction of by-products from coal since 1970–71.
Year BGC Expenditure £m NCB Expenditure £m 1970–71 — 0.035 1971–72 — 0.2 1972–73 — 0.25 1973–74 — 0.3 1974–75 1.6 0.6 1975–76 2.4 1.4 1976–77 2.5 1.9 1977–78 2.6 1.9 1978–79 3.1 1.9 1979–80 4.9 3.5 The NCB figure for 1979–80 includes the Government contribution to the oil-from-coal pilot plant design studies. The total Government expenditure on research and development into coal conversion over the last five years amounts to about £1 million. It is not possible to provide figures for the effort or expenditure of the oil companies.