The United States has more energy available in coal than in petroleum, natural gas, oil shale, and tar sands combined. Nationwide energy shortages, together with the availability of abundant coal reserves, make the commercial production of synthetic fuels from coal vital to the Nation's total supply of clean energy. In response to this need, the Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting a research and development program to provide technology that will permit rapid commercialization of processes for converting coal to synthetic liquid and gaseous fuels and for improved direct combustion of coal. These fuels must be storable and suitable for power generation, transportation, and residential and industrial uses. DOE's program for the conversion of coal to gaseous fuels was started by two of its predecessor agencies: the Office of Coal Research (OCR) and the Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of Interior. Both high- and lowBtu gasification processes are being developed. High-Btu gas can be distributed economically to consumers in the same pipeline systems now used to carry natural gas. Low-Btu gas, the cheapest of the gaseous fuels produced from coal, can be used economically only on site, either for electric power generation or by industrial and petrochemical plants.