If human ran out of crude oil and all other fossil fuel, are we still able to create synthetic oil? I've searched online about the raw material of synthetic oil, but I'm still not sure if none of the raw materials is from crude oil.

Also is there any synthetic oil with viscosity less than 10cSt?

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    $\begingroup$ Fischer–Tropsch process $\endgroup$ – andselisk Jan 28 '18 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ Without fossils not. The processes as in FT still requires carbon monoxide / hydrogen from fossils. Its value its contingent to situations (embargoes, poor quality sources, ,,,,,). In other words of technological relevance but still requires energy and material from fossils. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Jan 28 '18 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Alchimista Wood, water and solar power and here it comes :D All "fossil fuels" were made by natural processes from actual fossils. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 28 '18 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron. What in my comment makes to think I am not aware of it? $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Jan 29 '18 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Alchimista I mean you can make fuel not from "fresh"organic matter - it's not "fossil". $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 29 '18 at 14:16

Yes, it is being theorized and it's being done:

Example A: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264810861_Engineering_cyanobacteria_for_production_of_a_cyclic_hydrocarbon_from_CO2_and_H2O

Example B: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211926416304982

Example B is more theoretical with economic considerations, and example A is more methodical. In these papers, we see cyanobacteria being used to make the aromatic hydrocarbon limonene with the limonene synthase gene derived from a plant.

As for can we make synthetic oil that is chemically proportional to fossil fuel, Probably not ... but by adjusting the ratios of aromatic hydrocarbons, we can measure some useful properties like the heat value of the fuel for which limonene has a heat value very close diesel fuel and the density is close as well as you can see if you read the aforementioned Life Cycle Analysis paper. If you want to explore the chemical composition of fossil fuel then you need to do some spectroscopy work.

But fossil fuel isn't perfect. There is residual incombustible material, and perhaps by adjusting the proportion of combustible aromatic hydrocarbons in fossil fuel maybe we can get more energy from fossil fuel. This is also a function of the funding that these research projects get and also industrial support which is also a function of money ... which is why you need high yield in these reactions, hence genetically engineered cyanobacteria.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok is limone counts for fuel at least we will have polluted towns but smelling fresh. The problem in your answer is that every combustible can be called fuel, then. Tree cells are of course doing so. And almost every organic chemist working at the bench. Tough in the latter case he/she uses energy likely from fossils as well as solvents and reactants. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Jan 29 '18 at 12:28

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