The report we enclose in this dispatch summarizes some Coal liquefaction development work performed by the Colorado School of Mines, for the United States Government.
 
Although they make reference to other, similar work performed with lignite, Colorado employed, in their experiments, bituminous Coal originating from Consol's Ireland Mine, which we believe is, or was, located in, or near, West Virginia's northern panhandle, where it produced Coal from the Pittsburgh Seam.
 
We keep our excerpts brief since the full report is technically dense, and is focused on laboratory experiments centered only on one potential component of a Coal liquefaction-hydrogenation system; which is: how the water gas shift reaction, which we have earlier described, could be integrated into a Coal conversion process to generate additional Hydrogen.
 
Such Hydrogen was of interest to these Colorado researchers not only because it could aid in the further hydrogenation of Coal liquids, but also because it could be directed to the removal of Sulfur.  
 
Simply: Carbon Dioxide can be collected and then electrolyzed, in the presence of "OH", hydroxide, ions to form the liquid fuel and, as in ExxonMobil's "MTG"(r) process, Gasoline raw material, Methanol.
 
The technology disclosed in this United States Patent, developed and owned by the United States Department of Energy, is thus closely related to similar processes we have already documented for the West Virginia Coal Association that were developed by contractors, such as United Technologies, for our United States Department of Defense.
 
The difference in the Carbon Dioxide recycling technology developed by USDOE scientist Meyer Steinberg lies in the fact that the "OH" ion, needed to react with the CO2, is derived not from the electrolysis of Water, but from the electrolysis of a solution of Potassium Hydroxide and Potassium Carbonate/Bicarbonate in Water.
 
That fact has a few important implications perhaps not clearly spelled out by the Brookhaven, NY, National Laboratory's Steinberg.
 
First: The solution of Potassium by Water, to form the Potassium Hydroxide, KOH, specified by Steinberg, is an aggressive, exothermic reaction that needs no help in getting started or, aside from the addition of new raw materials, in continuing.
 
And, that reaction generates Hydrogen as a by-product, which could be collected and utilized in other, follow-on and related, processes of Carbon hydrogenation. However, we suppose that, once Steinberg's process is in motion, it will likely be unnecessary to create much more KOH in that fashion, unless it is desired to do so. Subsequent processing seems to regenerate much, if not all, of the original KOH.
 
Second: KOH solutions are almost ideal, and in some cases are specified, for use in Carbon Dioxide scrubbers. The CO2 passing through reacts with the Potassium Hydroxide to form Potassium Carbonate, and/or Bicarbonate, one supposes, still in solution with Water.
 
Those solutions dramatically reduce the electrical resistance of Water; and, as a consequence, they dramatically reduce the electrical energy required to reduce, to electrolyze, the solutions into reactive components of Hydrogen, Carbon and Oxygen, that can then be recombined, as in this USDOE process, to form Methanol.
 
We have many times documented the existence of technologies wherein Carbon Dioxide can be reacted, "reformed", with Methane, leading to the synthesis of higher hydrocarbons.
 
Keep in mind that, as affirmed recently by NASA, in their published plans for making rocket fuel on the planet Mars, as documented in our reports, that Methane can itself be synthesized from Carbon Dioxide via the "Sabatier" process, which won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for it's inventor all the way back in 1912.
 
Herein, we see that Shell Oil, with contributions from Shell scientists in both the Netherlands and Texas, developed their own process for reacting Carbon Dioxide with Methane, in order to synthesize higher hydrocarbons.
 
We have frequently made reference to the Fischer-Tropsch technology for converting Coal into liquid hydrocarbons. Although it is only one of the technologies which enable such conversion of Coal, it seems to be the one most studied and most developed.
 
A drawback of the Fischer-Tropsch process lies in the types of liquid hydrocarbons that are catalytically condensed out of the synthesis gas generated from the original Coal.
 
Raw Fischer-Tropsch condensate can contain a lot of high-molecular-weight oils that are deficient in Hydrogen content, and which are not volatile enough to be used, as is, for fuels.
 
The oil industry knows all of that, and, as we have earlier documented, has devoted some effort into the development of refining techniques for Coal-derived liquids, in order to more efficiently make typical liquid hydrocarbon fuels out of those Coal liquids - just as they had to devote effort into doing the same thing with crude petroleum oil.
 
We have noted, in the course of our reportage, that technologies for the conversion of Coal into liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, suitable as direct replacements for those we now derive from petroleum, can be adapted so that Carbon-recycling and renewable organic materials of biologic origin can be included in the raw material feed.
 
Inclusion and use of such products not only recycles environmental Carbon, and offers the potential for profitable use of what might otherwise be waste materials, but also introduces an element of sustainability.
 
Mobil Oil Corporation, whose Coal conversion expertise we have extensively documented, spells all of that out quite clearly in the United States Patent we enclose herein.

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