It's no secret that the decline of coal has hurt our local economy.
Now, one man says he has the formula the industry needs to bounce back.
"We need new markets for coal and one big market exists," Richard Wolfe said. "That's making our own coal into our own gasoline right here in the Southwest Virginia area."
It's been almost 40 years since Wolfe got the idea of coal-powered gasoline.
From 1989-1992, he had about 10 local service stations selling the coal powered fuel that contained a 10% blend of coal liquids. The manufacturing stopped because they couldn't compete with the price of crude oil. However, with those prices back up, Wolfe says now is the time to get the idea back up and running.
"We have thousands of miners unemployed and I see us turning this thing around and building at least one plant in every coal producing state," Richard said. "We can turn this country around and make ourselves energy independent and put high paying jobs back in the coalfields."
So can you bring back the dying industry with coal powered fuel?
Well, it's already being processed every day in South Africa and China so the potential boost for the industry doesn't seem impossible.
"This is a product that can perform and do its job day in and day out," Richard Wolfe's son, Eric, said. "Its not a pipe dream. You just have to believe in America and believe in the product."
The father and son are both working to make the idea a reality. If it takes off, it's estimated to bring thousands of high paying jobs back to Southwest Virginia.
"It's going to create a whole new market for coal besides just burning coal to make electricity," Richard said.
Right now support is what the Wolfe's need. They've already reached out to President Donald Trump and hope to set up a meeting to talk about the benefits of coal powered fuel.
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