United States Patent Application: 0150203974

Herein we learn that yet more technology has been developed for converting Carbon Dioxide - - as we might conveniently harvest as a valuable co-product arising from our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of abundant and affordable electric power - - into substitute natural gas Methane.

The implications of that for creating new Coal Country industries and new Coal Country jobs, while silencing the greenhouse gas critics of Coal-based electricity, should, we would think, be obvious, if anyone actually cares.

We'll note, in passing, that yet more technology is also being developed, as we'll address in future reports, for the efficient conversion of Coal into substitute natural gas Methane, as well.

In any case, as can be learned separately via the recent, April 14, 2015, publication, in the "Journal of The Electrochemical Society", of:

The Selective Electrochemical Conversion of Preactivated CO2 to Methane; "'The Selective Electrochemical Conversion of Preactivated CO2 to Methane'; (by) Oana R. Luca, et. al.; California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California; This work reports the selective electrochemical conversion of CO2 to methane, the reverse reaction of fossil fuel combustion. ... Although many (energy) storage strategies exist, one of the most promising is the electrochemical production of carbon-containing chemical fuels from carbon dioxide (CO2) using earth-abundant catalysts. However, selective electrochemical conversion of CO2 ... to products
such as methanol (CH3OH) and methane (CH4) (at less than specified energies) has not yet been achieved. We now report the first selective conversion of CO2 to (a chemically) reduced product by preactivating CO2 with organic compounds to form CO2-adducts with lower activation barriers to subsequent reduction steps";

the California Institute of Technology has been at work developing catalytic systems which lower the energy needed, and thus the cost, of using and consuming Carbon Dioxide as the key and basic raw material in the electrochemical synthesis of hydrocarbon products like substitute natural gas "methane (CH4)".

And, herein we learn that Cal Tech has not only finalized the specifics of their CO2-to-hydrocarbon fuel  catalyst technology, but, that the development of that CO2 utilization technology was paid for, through the United States Department of Energy, by each and every tax-paying United States citizen, including those US citizens resident in US Coal Country - - who's ability to earn decent wages and incur federal income taxes in the first place is being threatened by CO2-based Cap and Trade tax threats to our economically essential Coal-fired power generation industries.

One, we think important, comment follows excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to the recent publication of:

"United States Patent Application 20150203974 - Catalytic Platform for CO2 Reduction

CATALYTIC PLATFORM FOR CO2 REDUCTION - THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Date: July 23, 2015

Inventors: Oana Luca, et. al., California

Assignee: The California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Abstract: Carbon dioxide reduction includes bonding CO2 with an activator so as to form an activated intermediate. An electrical potential is applied to the intermediate so as to cause reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate. The CO2 reduction generates an organic fuel and releases the activator from the intermediate. The use of the intermediate suppresses H+ reduction reactions that compete with generation of the desired fuel.

Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under DE-SC0004993/T-106808 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.

Claims: A method of CO2 reduction, comprising: bonding CO2 with an amine activator so as to form an intermediate; and applying an electrical potential to the intermediate under conditions that cause reduction of the CO2 bound in the intermediate.

The method ... wherein reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate generates a liquid organic fuel (and/or)wherein reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate generates a gaseous organic fuel.

The method ... wherein the reduction of the CO2 generates methane.

The method ... wherein the intermediate is N-carbamate amine-CO2 (and) wherein the activator is released from the intermediate upon reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate.

The method ... wherein the CO2 is bonded to the activator in a CO2 scrubber.

A CO2 reduction device, comprising: an amine activator that bonds with CO2 so as to form an intermediate; and electrodes that apply an electrical potential to the intermediate under conditions that cause reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate (and) wherein reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate generates methane.

Background and Field: The present invention relates to solar fuels generation, and more particularly, to reduction of chemical components for solar fuels generation.

Solar fuels generators can be used to convert sunlight into a fuel that can be stored for later use. One example of a solar fuel reduces CO2 so as to generate an organic fuel. However, there are multiple different fuels that can be generated from CO2 reduction. Examples of organic fuels that can be generated from CO2 reduction include methane, methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, and glucose.

During CO2 reduction, the chemical reactions that generate these different fuels compete with one another. As a result, it is difficult to generate a particular organic fuel from CO2 reduction. For instance, it is often desirable to generate methane from CO2 reduction. However, the methane is often chemically generated at elevated temperatures. At the temperatures increase, the selectivity of for reducing CO2 to methane decreases making methane generation even less efficient. Further, the generation of these fuels from CO2 reduction is associated with high overpotentials and kinetic barriers. As a result, there is a need for a platform that allows efficient conversion of CO2 to a particular one of the fuels.

Summary: Carbon dioxide is bonded with an activator so as to form an intermediate. An electrical potential is applied to the intermediate so as to reduce the CO2 in the intermediate. The CO2 is reduced such that an organic fuel is generated and the activator is released from the intermediate.

An electrode at which the CO2 is reduced can have an active layer on an electrode base. The active layer includes a polymer that includes one or more reaction components selected from a group consisting of a CO2 reduction catalyst and the activator. The electrode can be included in a CO2 reduction device such as a solar fuels generator or an electrolysis device.

The disclosure provides a method of CO2 reduction, comprising: bonding CO2 with an amine activator so as to form an intermediate; and applying an electrical potential to the intermediate under conditions that cause reduction of the CO2 bound in the intermediate. In one embodiment, the reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate generates a liquid organic fuel. In one embodiment, the reduction of the CO2 in the intermediate generates a gaseous organic fuel.

In one embodiment, the reduction of the CO2 generates methane".

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There is actually quite a lot going on here that warrants much more attention than we can give it in the context of this brief report.

For instance, it seems clear that the CO2 scrubbing/capture composition also serves as the compound that facilitates, or catalyzes, the conversion of CO2, and Hydrogen concurrently extracted from H2O, selectively into Methane. 

One comment we think important to add to the above is embodied in one highlighted excerpt:

"there are multiple different fuels that can be generated from CO2 reduction. Examples of organic fuels that can be generated from CO2 reduction include methane, methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, and glucose".

In other words, multiple technologies already exist to convert Carbon Dioxide, as recovered from whatever handy source, efficiently into multiple products, a sample of those products being identified in the above excerpt.

The essence of this USDOE-financed CalTech process is that synthetic natural gas Methane is produced selectively from Carbon Dioxide via the specified catalytic technology, so that there is less need for product separation, etc., at the end of the synthesis process.

And, Methane might now be seen as an especially important commodity, for a number of reasons.

One among those reasons is that the CO2-derived Methane can be reacted with even more Carbon Dioxide, as explained for one example in our report of:

California 2013 CO2 + Methane = Methanol | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,440,729 - Conversion of CO2 to Methanol Using Bi-Reforming of Methane; 2013; Inventors: George Olah and G.K. Surya Prakash, CA; Assignee: University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Abstract: The invention provides for a method of forming methanol by combining a mixture of methane, water and carbon dioxide under specific reaction conditions sufficient to form a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide which are then reacted under conditions sufficient to form methanol";

and be made through such reactions to synthesize other, perhaps more valuable, hydrocarbon compounds. And, the above "methanol", made from reactions between Methane, itself made via the process of our subject, "United States Patent Application 20150203974 - Catalytic Platform for CO2 Reduction", from Carbon Dioxide, with more Carbon Dioxide, can, as seen for example in our report of:

Japan CO2 to Methanol to Gasoline | Research & Development | News; concerning, in part: "United States Patent Application 0130014430 - Method for Generating Electricity and for Producing Gasoline from Methanol and System Therefore; 2013; Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Tokyo";

then be directly converted into Gasoline, as one example of the valuable products Methanol can serve as a raw material for, in a reaction that actually co-produces heat energy in amounts great enough to enable the co-generation of a certain amount of electricity along with the Gasoline.

And, in sum, it's confirmed yet again that Carbon Dioxide, as we might harvest even from the atmosphere itself, is a valuable raw material resource.

As in the process of our subject herein, which all tax-paying United States citizens helped to finance the development of, The California Institute of Technology's "US Patent Application 20150203974 - Catalytic Platform for CO2 Reduction", Carbon Dioxide can be converted efficiently and selectively into substitute, and fracking-free, natural shale gas Methane. 


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