13 MAY 1943, Page 2

Unregarded Wealth

The coal industry, with the assistance of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, spends £2cio,o0o a year on coal utilisation research. The Fuel Research Board spends Doo,000 a year on the Survey of Coal Reserves. The Gas Industry spends about £400,000 a year on research. Compare these figures with the £r,000,000 a year spent by the Electrical Industry, or the £6,000,000 a year spent by the American Petroleum Industry, and we see how inadequate is the effort made to get the most from the great key industry on which the life of this country depends. kt present we extract no more than 3o per cent. of the potential energy from coal, and 7o per cent. remains to be fully utilised. Here was a subject abundantly deserving the attention of the 75 M.P.s who, with a number of peers and scientists, have been examining the question of Coal Utilisation Research, and have adopted a report making urgent recommendations for the large-scale employment of scientists for the purposes of research and the expenditure of a few millions a year on work essential to the national economy. This report is not concerned with coal production. That, too, needs searching inquiry. The question here considered is the use of the coal when it has been extracted. Thousands of research workers are needed for solving the problems of producing liquid fuels and chemicals from coal,' its proper use in transport by sea, road and rail, the best methods of combustion in industry, more economical generation of electricity, smoke abatement, and economical domestic use. Since a total national expenditure of .£750,000,000 is involved in the production, delivery and procuring of coal, it would be folly to grudge a few millions to secure the best results.