WV Coal Member Meeting 2024 1240x200 1 1

Purdue University Explains More Coal Conversion Basics


As can be seen in our prior report of:

Purdue University Explains Basics of Coal-To-Liquid Fuels | Research & Development | News; concerning Purdue University's presentation, or "File":

"Coal-To-Liquids (CTL) & Fischer-Tropsch Processing (FT); CCTR Basics Facts File #1; The Energy Center at Discovery Park; Purdue University; West Lafayette, Indiana; June, 2007; CTL Technology: There are two main processes: Coal to Syngas (and) Syngas to FT Fuels; With two major equipment needs: Coal Gasifier; (for) Coal to SynGas; (and) FT Reactor (for) SynGas to FT Products. ... Beginnings of the FT Process: (The Fischer-Tropsch process) was used by Germany and Japan during WWII to produce alternative fuels. FT Process Basics; The Fischer-Tropsch process uses hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) to make different types of hydrocarbons with various H2-CO ratios (and, in) a CTL facility the H2 and CO can be supplied from the coal gasifier. FT + Catalysis: The FT Process is a catalyzed chemical reaction in which carbon monoxide and hydrogen are converted into liquid hydrocarbons of various forms. Catalysts ... quicken the speed of the reaction. What can be Produced from a CTL Facility? - - Ammonia Fertilizer; - - Methanol/DME/Propylene; - - Electricity' - - Diesel Fuel; Kerosene; Jet Fuel; - - Gasoline; - - Waxes; Lubricants; Detergents; - - Electricity; - - Synthetic Natural Gas";


Purdue University, via "The Energy Center at Discovery Park", has compiled a significant amount of organized information concerning the indirect conversion of Coal, via multi-product "Fischer-Tropsch Processing", into, perhaps concurrently, or via multiple processors fed by a single "Coal Gasifier", such valuable products as "Gasoline", "Diesel Fuel", "Synthetic Natural Gas", and, concurrently with those valuable products, "Electricity". 

It also seems enlightening to discover that one component of the "The Energy Center" at Purdue's "Discovery Park" is an Indiana state government-funded "Center for Coal Technology Research":

Home - CCTR - Energy Center - Discovery Park at Purdue; "Center for Coal Technology Research (CCTR).  CCTR, an Indiana State Agency, was created by the Indiana State Legislature in 2004 and is governed by I.C. 21-47-4.  The Center Director reports to the Lt. Governor of the State of Indiana.  The legislation that created CCTR, P.L.2-2007, SEC.288, places the Center at Purdue University, West Lafayette. The legislated objective of the CCTR is to promote the use of Indiana's coal reserves in an economically and environmentally sound manner. To achieve this, the CCTR concentrates on the development and implementation of strategic appropriate clean coal technologies through funding scoping studies, industrial and commercial application projects, long-term development projects, technology designs and demonstration projects, coal research seminars and forums, and educational materials"..

And, herein we see, first, that Purdue University's Indiana state government-funded "CCTR" has gone on to compose another "CCTR Basic Facts File", number 3 in the series, which concerns, as excerpted from the initial link in this dispatch:

"'Coal-to-Gas & Coal-to-Liquids'; Brian Bowen and Marty Irwin; The Energy Center at Discovery Park, Purdue University; August, 2007".

Of specific interest might be Slide 6: ""What is Gasification"; and, Slide 7: "Coal-to-Liquid = Coal-to-Gas + FT".

The "FT" refers to Fischer-Tropsch syngas-to-hydrocarbon processing, with the presentation actually concerning only indirect-type Coal-to-hydrocarbon conversion, of which Fischer-Tropsch is the generic representative. That, as opposed to direct Coal liquefaction, where solvents of one sort or another are employed to dissolve the carbon content of the Coal and to produce thereby a petroleum-like product suitable for further refining .

A brief introduction to Fischer-Tropsch indirect Coal conversion technology is accessible in our report of:

USDOE Pays Kentucky to Improve Fischer-Tropsch Coal Conversion | Research & Development | News; which centers on: "United States Patent Application 20110294906 - Incorporation of Catalytic Dehydrogenation into Fischer-Tropsch; 2011; Inventor: Gerald P. Huffman (University of Kentucky, College of Engineering; Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering); Abstract: A method for producing liquid fuels includes the steps of gasifying a starting material selected from a group consisting of coal, biomass, carbon nanotubes and mixtures thereof to produce a syngas, subjecting that syngas to Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) to produce a hydrocarbon product stream".

For illustration and comparison, direct Coal liquefaction is discussed in our report of:

WVU Coal Liquefaction System | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent 8,597,503 - Coal Liquefaction System; 2013; Inventors: Alfred H. Stiller and Elliot B. Kennel, Morgantown, WV; Assignee: West Virginia University; Abstract: The present disclosure relates to a coal liquefaction system for utilizing a hydrogenated vegetable oil to liquefy coal".

Perhaps interestingly, Slide 12 introduces the potential use of microwave energy in such Coal gasification technology, as a substitute for partial oxidation, to generate the desired hydrocarbon syngas blend of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen. And, that, too, has been a subject of interest among those working to secure the United States of America's energy future, since it offers some advantages relative to traditional gasification processes powered by the partial oxidation of Coal. For an introduction, see our report of:

USDOD and USDOE Microwaves Convert Coal into Hydrocarbons | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130213795 - Heavy Fossil Hydrocarbon Conversion and Upgrading Using Radio-Frequency or Microwave Energy; 2013; Inventors: James Strohm, et. al., WA; Assignee: Battelle Memorial Institute, Richland, WA (USDOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory); Abstract: Conversion of heavy fossil hydrocarbons (HFH) to a variety of value-added chemicals and/or fuels can be enhanced using microwave (MW) and/or radio-frequency (RF) energy. Variations of reactants, process parameters, and reactor design can significantly influence the relative distribution of chemicals and fuels generated as the product. Government Interests: This invention was made with Government support under ARPA Order No. Z075/00, Program Code 9620 issued by DARPA/CMO under Contract HR0011-10-0088. The US Government has certain rights in the invention. Claims: A method for continuous flash conversion of heavy fossil hydrocarbons (HFH), the method comprising: flowing a continuous feed comprising HFH and a process gas through a reaction zone having a pressure greater than 0.9 atm; contacting the HFH and a HFH-to-liquids catalyst in at least the reaction zone; concentrating microwave or RF energy in the reaction zone using a microwave or RF energy source; and generating dielectric discharges within the reaction zone; wherein the HFH and the catalyst have a residence time in the reaction zone of less than 30 seconds. ... The system ... wherein the process gas comprises a hydrogen-containing gas (and) wherein the process gas is selected from ... carbon dioxide, ... recycle gas, carbon monoxide, ... water, ... and combinations thereof. ... Background: Traditional liquefaction methods for coal, and other heavy fossil hydrocarbons (HFH), can be divided into two general categories. The first is indirect liquefaction, where the coal is first gasified to synthesis gas that is then used for chemical and fuel production. The second method is direct liquefaction, where the coal chemicals and fuels are either extracted/refined from the coal or the coal undergoes a series of thermochemical reactions (but) alternative methods for conversion of HFH to value-added chemicals and fuels are required to reduce the capital costs, the operating costs, and the environmental impact of HFH liquefaction and in order to make facilities such as coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants feasible. ... This document describes a system that utilizes microwave (MW) and/or radio-frequency (RF) energies to convert HFH to a variety of value-added chemicals and/or fuels. (The) direct generation of acetylene, olefins, naphtha, naphthalenes, benzene, toluene, xylene (BTX), polyaromatics, paraffins, and fuel precursors from flash conversion of coal in inert atmospheres has been observed. Addition of hydrogen and/or methane can further increase direct fuel production and hydrogenation of HFH-derived liquid seven when operating at atmospheric pressure and at modest temperatures".

In any case, Purdue University has followed through on the Coal conversion principles they disclosed in their presentations of "Coal-To-Liquids (CTL) & Fischer-Tropsch Processing (FT)" and "Coal-to-Gas & Coal-to-Liquids" by developing, as recently confirmed to be viable and practicable by the United States Government, technology for the conversion of Coal into, concurrently, in one combined process, hydrocarbon fuels, coke for steel making, and, electric power. As disclosed by:

"United States Patent: 9068123 - Multipurpose Coke Plant for Synthetic Fuel Production

Multipurpose coke plant for synthetic fuel production - Purdue Research Foundation

Date: June 30, 2015

Inventors: Robert Kramer, et. al., IN and IL

Assignee: Purdue Research Foundation, West Lafayette, IN

Abstract: A new approach to the production of coke. In this process multiple optimized value streams are produced from a coke facility located at mine mouth or locally at an existing plant. As part of the process, lower cost Indiana/Illinois Basin-type coals are blended with conventional metallurgical coals. The blending process is optimized to meet coke quality requirements and simultaneously to obtain a pyrolysis gas composition suitable for production of ancillary products including liquid transportation fuels, fertilizer, hydrogen, and electricity. By using lower cost Indiana/Illinois Basin coal it is possible to reduce net coal costs. This process provides a new direction and approach for the production of coke in the future that optimizes value over multiple product streams while reducing both business and technological risk.

Claims: A method for producing coke, comprising: providing a recovery coke oven capable of operation over a range of temperatures and a processing plant in fluid communication with the coke oven; providing a first coal from a first source; providing a second coal from a second source different than the first source; analyzing the volatile gas content of the first coal within the range of temperatures; selecting a temperature from the range of temperatures that will release a desired concentration of at least one volatile gas; supplying a blend of the first coal and the second coal into the coke oven; pyrolizing at the selected temperature the blend of the first coal and the second coal in the coke oven to release the gas; and providing the released gas to the processing plant. 

The method ... wherein the gases are at least one of hydrogen, methane, or acetylene. 

The method ... which further comprises substantially obstructing the introduction of oxygen to the top of the oven (and) which further comprises substantially obstructing the flow of released gas to a sole plate of the oven. 

The method ...  wherein the processing plant includes an electric generator and said providing comprises driving the generator with energy released from the gas. 

The method ... wherein the processing plant uses the Fischer-Tropsch process to produce a liquid hydrocarbon.

(The use of, specifically, such Coke Oven gas as feedstock for the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels is a potential we have documented several times in earlier reports. But, as seen for one example in:

Coke Oven Gas to Synfuel | Research & Development | News; concerning Coke Oven gas utilization in China, including info about one development specified as a "120 000 t/a methanol project based on coke oven gas designed by the Second Design Institute of Chemical Industry started production in Kingboard (Hebei) Coking Co., Ltd. on Sept. 5. The product reached the standard for AA-grade products in the United States. The capacity of this unit is 40 000 t/a higher than the first methanol unit based on coke oven gas in China complete in Qujing, Yunnan province in December 2004";

such valuable use of Coke Oven gas is one that is not just acknowledged but is actually being reduced to industrial practice in other nations of the world.)

A method for producing coke, comprising: providing a recovery coke oven capable of operation over a range of temperatures and a processing plant in fluid communication with the coke oven; providing a first coal from a first source, the first coal containing a volatile gas releasable by pyrolysis; providing a second coal from a second source; calculating a future demand for at least one of electricity, coke, or a liquid fuel prepared from the volatile gas; determining a blend of the first coal and the second coal from said calculating; pyrolizing the determined blend of the first coal and the second coal in the coke oven to release the gas and produce a quantity of coke; and using the released gas in the processing plant. 

The method ... wherein the first source provides coal mined from a vein of coal that extends within Illinois or Indiana (and) wherein the first coal is of a type that produces nut coke or coke breeze (and) wherein the coke oven is located proximate to the site where the coke is used in a steel making process.

Background and Field: The present invention pertains to apparatus and methods for production of coke, and in particular for apparatus and methods for producing multiple products during production of coke from blended coal. 

Coke is a solid carbon fuel and carbon source produced from coal that is used to melt and reduce iron ore. Although coke is an essential part of iron making and foundry processes, currently there is a shortfall of 5.5 million tons of coke per year in the United States. The shortfall has resulted in increased imports and drastic increases in coke prices and market volatility. For example, coke delivered FOB to a Chinese port in January 2004 was priced at $60/ton, but rose to $420/ton in March 2004 and in September 2004 was $220/ton. This makes clear the likelihood that prices will remain high. 

Current 2005 forecasts indicate that the United States will produce 11,500,000 net tons of coke, but will require 17,000,000 net tons for blast furnace, foundry, and related uses. At present, little or no Indiana coal is being used for coke production. In 2002, Indiana's steel industry used an estimated 10.7 million tons of coal. Of this, approximately 8.1 million tons was used for coke production. Essentially all of this coking coal comes from Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. The significant shortfall of needed coke has placed an enormous strain on Indiana's steel industries.

One metric ton of coal typically produces 600-800 kg of blast-furnace coke and 296-358 (cubic meters) of coke oven gas.

From preliminary results it is estimated that from 0.1-0.25 barrels of liquid transportation fuel could be produced from each ton of coal used in the coking process.

(The above "0.1-0.25 barrels of liquid transportation fuel" per "ton of coal used in the coking process" might not sound like a lot. But, keep in mind that the "liquid transportation fuel" would be produced as the byproduct of a process that is making, primarily, a high-value product, "blast furnace coke", that, as Purdue documents in more detail in the full Disclosure, is growing in value. And, this process enables the coking of non-metallurgical Coals that might not otherwise be suitable for use in steel making. Even further, other products, such as a synthetic natural gas, electricity and fertilizer can as well be co-produced by the process.)

Currently Indiana uses approximately 8,000,000 tons of coal per year for the coke production. Use of Indiana/Illinois coal would also provide a financial incentive to the steel industry since Indiana/Illinois coal is considerably less costly than current metallurgical coal. With a blend of from 20-40% Indiana/Illinois coal significant coal cost reductions could be realized. 

As the fraction of imported coal increases there will be additional pressure placed on coking coal supplies. Some embodiments of the present invention include technology to use Indiana and related types of coal to produce coke could supplement the coal supply for coking purposes and enhance the future market for such coal.

Various embodiments of the present invention pertain to methods for producing coke. In some embodiments a recovery coke oven is fueled with a blend of different types of coals. One coal may be of a type typically used for the production of coke. The other coal may be of the type that includes compounds that produce volatile gases during pyrolysis.

The volatile gases given off during pyrolysis are used in a separate economic stream, such as by producing electricity, a liquid fuel, fertilizer, or other uses of the gas.

The coke produced during pyrolysis is a separate economic stream useful in the steelmaking process.

Preferably, the blend ratio of the two coals is chosen to produce a sufficient quantity of both coke and the volatile gas (during subsequent pyrolysis) so as to achieve a desired profitability of the coke oven. 

Major products from a facility using a process according to one embodiment of the present invention are coke, electricity, liquid transportation fuel, and fertilizer and hydrogen.

A prudent approach ... is not to have a standalone coke plant but a multipurpose coke facility in which multiple product value streams are optimized to reduce technical and economic risks. In such a coke plant, it would be possible to selectively extract pyrolysis gas to produce electricity, natural gas, liquid transportation fuels, fertilizer, and hydrogen in addition to coke.

With this scenario in mind, a research project was initiated to consider the use of Indiana/Illinois Basin Coal for the production of coke at mine mouth or locally at a steel production facility in addition to other ancillary products. Initial results indicate that it is possible to use blended coal with up to 50% Indiana/Illinois coal in a non recovery coke oven to produce pyrolysis gas that can be selectively extracted and used for various purposes including the production of electricity, liquid transportation fuels, fertilizer and hydrogen. Since Indiana/Illinois coal is less expensive than conventional metallurgical coals, coking coal costs would be significantly reduced. 

A multipurpose coke plant using Indiana/Illinois coal would help reduce the coke shortfall and lower the cost of coke produced. One embodiment of the present invention includes the development of a process that can provide at least a partial resolution and/or mitigation of this formidable problem through the use of Indiana/Illinois Basin coal in either a mine mouth or local, environmentally friendly, high efficiency coking/coal gasification facility. Such a process would increase coke supply and production, while, at the same time reduce coal costs. Some embodiments use an optimized blend of Indiana/Illinois Basin and conventional metallurgical coals to produce coke that has acceptable hot and cold strength and other physical and chemical characteristics as well as producing a gas stream that can be used for the production of additional products such as Fischer-Tropsch liquid transportation fuels, fertilizer, hydrogen, and electricity. Still other embodiments include methods to use nanoscale catalysis to reduce the carbon foot print of coking operations by producing salable chemical products from the produced carbon dioxide". 


We'll close our excerpts with the mention of the potential for "producing salable chemical products from the produced carbon dioxide", to make note, first, that, as seen for one example in our report of:

South Africa Co-produces Power and Hydrocarbons from Coal | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,247,462 - Co-production of Power and Hydrocarbons; 2012; Assignee: Sasol Technology Limited, South Africa; Abstract: A process for co-producing power and hydrocarbons includes in a wet gasification stage, gasifying coal to produce a combustion gas at elevated pressure comprising at least H2 and CO; enriching a first portion of the combustion gas with H2 to produce an H2-enriched gas; and generating power from a second portion of the combustion gas. In a dry gasification stage, coal is gasified to produce a synthesis gas precursor at elevated pressure comprising at least H2 and CO. At least a portion of the H2-enriched gas is mixed with the synthesis gas precursor to provide a synthesis gas for hydrocarbon synthesis, with hydrocarbons being synthesized from the synthesis gas. In certain embodiments, the process produces a CO2 exhaust stream for ... further use";

the potential for generating both hydrocarbon fuels and electric power in one combined process from Coal is one that has been recognized and developed in a nation, and by a company, where Coal has been converted into liquid hydrocarbon transportation fuels on a large-scale commercial basis for well more than half a century.  And, as far as "producing salable chemical products from the produced carbon dioxide", as Purdue states to be possible, and as indicated above by SASOL, in "the process produces a CO2 exhaust stream for further use"; those potentials, as in our report of:

Texas Converts Coal to Oil, Byproduct CO2 to Methanol for USDOE | Research & Development | News; concerning: "Final Report - Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology (CREST); Principal authors: Dr. Richard E. Billo (and) Dr. Krishnan Rajeshwar; 2013; DOE Award Number: DE-FE0002829; Submitting organization: The University of Texas Arlington; The CREST research team conducted research that optimized catalysts used for the conversion of southwestern lignite into synthetic crude oil that can be shipped to nearby Texas refineries and power plants for development of transportation fuels and power generation. Research was also undertaken to convert any potential by-products of this process such as CO2 to useful chemicals and gases which could be recycled and used as feedstock to the synthetic fuel process. These CO2 conversion processes used light energy to drive the ... reactions involved";

have as well been recognized by others. And, if using "light energy to drive the" processes of converting byproduct Carbon Dioxide into more "feedstock for the synthetic fuel process" sounds improbable, see, for just one example, our report of:

USDOE Hires Nevada to Photo-Convert CO2 into Fuels | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,709,304 - Hydrothermal Synthesis of Nanocubes of Sillenite Type Compounds for Photovoltaic Applications and Solar Energy Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Fuels; 2014; Inventors: Vaidyanathan Subramanian and Sankaran Murugesan, NV and TX; Assignee: Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, on behalf of the University of Nevada; Abstract: The present invention relates to formation of nanocubes of sillenite type compounds ... having multifunctional properties such as being useful in solar energy conversion, environmental remediation, and/or energy storage ... . Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under Grant Number DE-EE0000272, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy; the United States federal government, therefore, has certain rights in the invention. Background and Field: The present invention relates to formation of nanostructures of sillenite type compounds, such as bismuth titanate nanocubes, via a hydrothermal synthesis process, with the resulting compounds being useful in photovoltaic applications and solar energy conversion for fuel production, for example. ... (The) the material is desirable in energy conversion (photovoltaics), environmental remediation (photodegradation), or solar fuel production (CO2 conversion to value added hydrocarbon chemicals such as alcohols, acids, and ethers), for example"; 

wherein the University of Nevada, under contract to the USDOE, clearly demonstrates that such is feasible. And, speaking of the USDOE, as seen in our report of:

USDOE Coal to Gasoline, Diesel and Electricity Profitable | Research & Development | News; concerning:

"'Baseline Technical and Economic Assessment of a Commercial Scale Fischer-Tropsch Liquids Facility'; DOE/NETL-2007/1260; Final Report for Subtask 41817.401.01.08.001; April 9, 2007";

they, too, have examined the potentials for making multiple products, such as liquid hydrocarbon fuels and electricity, from Coal, in one combined process. And, the USDOE's analysis determined that such an operation would, especially at current prices for imported OPEC oil, be definitely profitable.

We can, thus, profitably, in one combined and integrated industrial process, make coke for steel production; liquid and/or gaseous hydrocarbon fuels; and,  electrical power, from Coal.

Just how good do the demonstrated potentials have to be before we start doing something with them?