TECHNOLOGY: Recycling Nazi Secrets

If the U.S. is in an energy bind, consider the one that Nazi Germany faced in the 1930s: it prepared to fight a world war with no secure reserves of oil at all. The Germans' solution was to make oil from coal, and they did that so successfully that after 1944 (when oil supplies from Nazi-aligned Rumania were bombed out) the Luftwaffe planes flew, and the Reich tanks rolled, almost exclusively on coal-derived gasoline. Could the Nazi know-how help the U.S. three decades later?

The question occurred to Professor Richard Wainerdi, a chemical...

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