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"Synthetic Fuel Technology Development in the United States: A Retrospective Assessment" cover
November 1988
New York: Praeger Press

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Synthetic Fuel Technology Development in the United States

A Retrospective Assessment
Michael Crow
Barry Bozeman
R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr.

Direct coal liquefaction, a synthetic liquid fuel process, is one of the major developmental alternatives for meeting the anticipated fuel demands for the twenty-first century. This work provides a retrospective assessment of past attempts in this century to develop synthetic liquid fuel and applies the findings to produce reliable and pertinent data for the future. Retrospective technology assessment, a recent methodological invention, is used by the authors to analyze the past synthetic liquid fuel programs and the reasons for their failures. Bringing to bear four different perspectives — economic, technological, policy and historical — the authors draw broad conclusions that will help guide the next development effort in the United States.


Michael M. Crow became the sixteenth president of Arizona State University on July 1, 2002. An academic leader and educator, he is guiding the transformation of ASU into one of the nation’s leading public metropolitan research universities, an institution that combines academic excellence, inclusiveness, and societal impact — a model he terms the “New American University.”

Barry Bozeman is Arizona Centennial Professor of technology policy and public management and founding director of the Center of Organization Research and Design. Bozeman’s research focuses on public management, organization theory and science and technology policy.

R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr. is the chief executive officer of ASU Enterprise Partners. He previously served as the chief executive officer of the ASU Foundation (2011–2017) and currently holds professor of practice appointments in the ASU School of Sustainability, and the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.