Sasol Limited is an integrated energy and chemical company based in Sandton, South Africa. The company was formed in 1950 in Sasolburg, South Africa and built on processes that were first developed by German chemists and engineers in the early 1900s (see coal liquefaction).
Today, Sasol develops and commercialises technologies, including synthetic fuels technologies, and produces different liquid fuels, chemicals and electricity.
South Africa has large deposits of coal which had low commercial value due to its high fly ash content. It was thought that if this coal could be used to produce synthetic oil, petrol and diesel fuel, it would have significant benefit to South Africa.
In the 1920s, South African scientists started looking at the possibility of using coal as a source of liquid fuels. This work was pioneered by P. N. Lategan, working for the Transvaal Coal Owners Association.
The leading company in the commercialization of synthetic fuel is Sasol. Sasol operates the world's only commercial Fischer Tropsch coal-to-liquids facility, Secunda CTL, with a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day (24,000 m3/d). Sasol is the parastatal company that invented and perfected the technology for making petrol and diesel from coal.
Coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology makes economic sense only in a world of high oil prices: synthetic fuels become economically viable when oil prices reach $50 a barrel. As a result, Sasol has come of age. Until 2003, oil prices averaged $25 a barrel, making $45-a-barrel liquid coal economically prohibitive, but today oil prices hover at $70-a barrel, so the demand for CTL technology is booming.
Sasol is now the world’s biggest producer of synthetic fuel, having branched out to gas-to-liquid technology too. Sasol employs 30,100 people worldwide and has operations in 33 countries. Its profitability has also been boosted by expanding its end products to include plastics, fertilizers and explosives.
According to brandsouthafrica.com & wikipedia