Comparative Analysis of Costs of Alternative Coal Liquefaction Processes - Energy & Fuels (ACS Publications)

 
Questions have arisen of late, from interested readers, concerning the costs of liquefying our domestic Coal, as a means to provide replacements for the transportation fuels which we are now being extorted, by largely unfriendly foreign powers and multinational oil corporations, for the supply of.
 
The general, public misperception, which we believe to be no doubt fostered by those same foreign powers and multinational oil corporations, is that converting Coal into Gasoline is too expensive to be considered.
 
It most definitely is not.
 
Although up to 60% of the cost at the pump of imported gasoline is, for various reasons, simply, lost to the US economy, as earlier analyses we provided to the WV Coal Association indicated, which is just money lost out of all of our pockets, we do understand that the public sees only that pump price; and, that is what the public focus, until some effort is made at public re-education, would be.
 

United States Patent: 4111787

 
This past July, we presented information concerning: "United States Patent 4,094,765 - Coal Liquefaction Process" which was assigned, in June of 1978, to Exxon Research and Engineering Company.
 
In the process of that invention, according to the Patent Abstract, "coal liquefaction chargestock is first treated with a hydrogen sulfide-containing gas and thereafter subjected to coal liquefaction conditions" and,  the Coal was blended with Coal oils, or Coal tars, as in "naphthenic hydrocarbons" and "phenolic materials" before being so treated with hydrogen sulfide.
 
Herein, we see that Exxon were so encouraged by the economic and technical implications of that invention that they, using the same team of scientists, continued development of the same technology, and were, just months later, awarded yet another US Patent for improvements they had made on it. 
 

Conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide
 
We have many times documented, and made reference to, Eastman Chemical Company's operation of a plant in Kingsport, Tennessee, where they convert Coal on a commercial basis into the valuable liquid fuel, Methanol - a versatile alcohol which can itself be used as a raw material in the manufacture of plastics and other products of high value; including, via ExxonMobil's "MTG"(r) technology, for one instance, Gasoline.
 
Eastman's orocess is an "indirect" Coal conversion technique, wherein Coal is first converted into synthesis gas, "syngas", a mixture of Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide, which is then catalytically condensed into the liquid Methanol.
 
We have also documented the development of "bi-reforming" and "tri-reforming" technologies, some, developed by the petroleum industry, dating back to the WWII era, in which Carbon Dioxide can be reacted with Methane, and/or Steam, and thus made to generate a very similar hydrocarbon synthesis gas.
 

United States Patent: 4443321
 
Yes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, perhaps concerned about potential shortages of  rocket fuel, has developed their own technology for converting Coal into liquid hydrocarbons.
 
A close read reveals some, perhaps, surprising facts; and, a close read is demanded to understand exactly what NASA is doing, and what the implications might be.
 
In sum, they have developed a "gas phase" solvent extraction process for Coal that enables what would seem to be an industrially efficient first extraction, and conversion into hydrocarbons, of up to 50% of the initial Carbon content in Coal.
 
Aside from the fact that 50% of the Carbon is left behind, which we wi'll address following our full excerpts, there are efficiencies which arise from the fact that raw Coal doesn't have to be highly cleaned, or specifically sized, in order to be processed in NASA's technology.
 

SYNTHESIS OF HYDROCARBONS VIA CATALYTIC REDUCTION OF CO2
 
In a number of earlier reports, we documented the strategic development, by the United States Department of Defense, of technologies that enable the conversion of Carbon Dioxide harvested from the environment into liquid hydrocarbon fuels.
 
Patents for such technology, including one for a full scale "Fuel Production Ship", again as we documented, have been applied for by defense contractors Hamilton Standard and United Technologies.
 
Herein, we see that the United States Navy has applied for it's own US Patent for related Carbon Dioxide recycling technology.
 


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