We open this dispatch with a statement excerpted from the US Patent, as linked above, which was issued,  fully one quarter of a century ago, to Mobil Oil Corporation:
 
"It is recognized that the coal products may furnish a substitute for petroleum-based fuels and for petroleum-based feedstocks for the chemical industry."
 
They don't, however, say by who, or where, such a fact was, back in 1984, recognized. 
 
Apparently it wasn't by anyone in US Coal Country.
 
In any case, we remind you of our previous, August 29, report, of: United States Patent: 4252736, "Conversion of Synthesis Gas to Hydrocarbon Mixtures", which was awarded in 1981, also to Mobil Oil, and which detailed a process for, as the Abstract states, "the conversion of coal to gaseous and liquid products" which included "methane, LPG, gasoline and distillate".
 
Herein is further proof that, many decades ago, our own United States Government knew enough about the potentials for hydrogenating Coal with Steam, in order to generate Hydrogen-rich gases suitable for use as fuel, or for catalytic condensation into liquid hydrocarbons, that it devoted itself to refining Steam gasification techniques with respect to the different kinds of Coal, with their different reactive characteristics, that were available.
 
We don't now understand, if we ever did, the technical nature of the variances in feed Coal that were addressed by Pittsburgh's US Bureau of Mines laboratory, in their development of the invention they disclose in this United States Patent.
 
What we do, clearly, understand, though, is: The United States Government, as herein, developed, and assigned itself the rights to, a process wherein Pittsburgh Seam Coal can be efficiently reacted with Steam to generate an hydrogenated, Methane-rich synthesis gas; a gas which, we submit, would be ideally suited for further catalytic condensation, as via the Fischer-Tropsch process, into liquid hydrocarbons. 
 

 

Today, via separate dispatch, we sent information concerning United States Patent: 3993457; for the "Concurrent Production of Methanol and Synthetic Natural Gas", wherein it was seen that Exxon had developed a technology which would, if reduced to practice, enable us to synthesize both the liquid fuel, Methanol, and a synthetic "natural" gas, Methane, CH4, concurrently, from Coal. 
 
Previously, we have sent confirmation of the fact that Methane, obtained from any source, can be reacted, "reformed", with reclaimed Carbon Dioxide, also obtained from any source, and made thus to synthesize even more liquid hydrocarbons, again including Methanol; which can be, via ExxonMobil's "MTG"(r) technology, further transformed into Gasoline; or, used as the raw material for the manufacture of certain plastics.
 
Among those earlier reports, in addition to others, were expositions of United States Patent: 4098339, for the "Utilization of Low BTU Natural Gas", assigned in 1978 to Mobil Oil; and, of Reforming hydrocarbon gases in the presence of a magnesia catalyst, United States Patent 2,593,584, which was assigned in 1952 to Standard Oil.
 
Shell Oil, in confirmation of earlier of our reports, herein documents, and our United States Government affirms, that any Carbon Dioxide generated in the initial gasification of Coal, in a process designed to generate a synthesis gas for use in the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels, can be reclaimed and recycled back into the system, where it undergoes reactions with hot Coal and Steam, and is converted thereby into additional hydrocarbon synthesis gas.
 
Our read of the full Disclosure compels us to see this technology as an advancement on, if not a rip-off of, similar processes developed in Pittsburgh, PA, by the United States Bureau of Mines, an example of which we are documenting today in our separate report concerning: "United States Patent 3,463,623 - Process for Gasifying Caking Coals"; the rights to which were, supposedly, assigned, in 1969, to the United States of America and the people who comprise it.
 
That issue is not moot. This technology is likely now being reduced by Shell to commercial practice; but, in their Bintulu, Malaysia, Coal hydrogenation and gasification facility, about which we have previously reported.
 
Moreover, the full Disclosure also contains within it a misdirecting statement which we will assume, for the sake of amity, to be an inadvertent misprint. Those are not, somewhat surprisingly, we have discovered, all that uncommon in published United States Patents; at least in those US Patents concerning technologies for the conversion of Coal into more versatile hydrocarbons, which are the ones we have been studying.
 
We are not reproducing or pointing out that erroneous statement. The specifics of the technology are accurately conveyed in our excerpts, with comment appended, from the link to and attached file of:
 
"United States Patent 5,431,703 - Method of Quenching Synthesis Gas
 
Date: July, 1995
 
Inventor: Lloyd Clomburg, et. al., Texas
 
Assignee: Shell Oil Company, Houston
 
Abstract: The invention is a process for quenching a first synthesis gas mixture containing synthesis gas, molten fly ash, water and carbon dioxide and producing additional synthesis gas (by) passing first synthesis gas mixture into a ... mixture of pulverized coal in a ... carbon dioxide carrier gas (and) endothermically reacting the pulverized coal with the water and the carbon dioxide to produce additional synthesis gas.
 
The gases resulting from a partial combustion or gasification of coal have value as ... starting materials for synthesis of chemicals and fuels.
 
Summary: The invention is a process (which includes) endothermically reacting the pulverized coal with the water vapor and the carbon dioxide in the first synthesis gas mixture thus producing additional synthesis gas consisting of hydrogen and carbon monoxide."
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We hope that, by now, it is becoming clear:
 
Carbon Dioxide can be reacted with hot Coal and Steam, and thereby made to produce "gases ... (which) have value as ... starting materials for synthesis of chemicals and fuels."
 
We see herein that, as confirmed by our own United States Government's Patent Office, it has been known since around Thanksgiving Day of our national Bicentennial Celebration Year that we can efficiently convert Coal, at the same time, in the same Coal conversion process, developed, as herein, by Exxon, into both the liquid fuel, Methanol, and the "synthetic natural gas", Methane.
 
Methanol, as you by now know, can be converted, via ExxonMobil's own "MTG"(r) process, into Gasoline.
 
Methane - - as you should also by now know, and as we will further confirm today, via separate dispatch reporting United States Patent: 4690777, for the "Production of Synthesis Gas", which was assigned in September of 1987 to the Standard Oil Company - - can be reacted, "reformed", with reclaimed Carbon Dioxide, to recycle that supposed greenhouse pollutant into hydrocarbon fuels.

West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw