A process for the treatment of distillable carbonaceous materials with added hydrogen or an added gas containing free hydrogen at an elevated temperature between 200 deg. and 700 deg. C. and a pressure in excess of 20 atmospheres, having at least 100 cubic metres of hydrogen present per ton of carbonaceous material treated, which comprises effecting said treatment in the presence as a catalyst of a line granular free metal selected from the group consisting of aluminium, magnalium and aluminium bronze, finely distributed in the carbonaceous material treated, and between 0·01 and 1 per cent with reference to the amount of the said carbonaceous material of a non‐metallic substance comprising free halogen or hydrogen halide, the halogen portion of said non‐metallic substance being selected from the group consisting of chlorine and bromine.
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