The process for producing liquid fuels (diesel, motor oils) by liquefying coal, named after him and his colleague Hans Tropsch, goes back to the chemist Franz Joseph Emil Fischer and was patented in 1925. The synthesis gas required for this is produced from coke or coal by reaction with steam and oxygen at temperatures above 900 degrees Celsius in coal gasification.
The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis was developed by the two chemists at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Coal Research in Mühlheim (Germany) and industrially implemented at Ruhrchemie in Oberhausen from 1935. Due to competition from crude oil, the process was discontinued after the Second World War as unprofitable.
The great advantage of the process is that any plant-based energy-rich raw material (including wood or biowaste) is basically suitable. Therefore, in the 21st century, the process is again increasingly used for the production of biofuels.