Hydrogenation of hydrocarbonaceous materials


We've previously reported on the Coal conversion achievements of Chicago's old Universal Oil Products company, UOP, which, if you recall an earlier post or two, included a surprising pre-WWII contribution from a scientist in Germany, whose name is often associated with Coal conversion technology.

And, it seems appropriate to elaborate a bit on UOP's history by referencing their own take on it, as accessible via: UOP Overview; wherein we learn that:

"UOP LLC was founded in 1914 as the National Hydrocarbon Company on the strength of patent rights developed from the pioneering work of Jesse A. Dubbs; (and) in 1919, the famous Dubbs thermal cracking process was successfully demonstrated. This revolutionary process became the foundation of UOP’s rapid growth and early worldwide recognition by the industry. During this period, Dr. Gustav Egloff, one of the world’s leading petroleum chemists, directed the company’s research activities.

In 1931, UOP established its headquarters in Chicago and its research laboratories in nearby Riverside, Ill. That same year, the ownership of UOP passed to a consortium of major oil companies, all of them UOP licensees, led by Shell and Standard Oil of California.

With the outbreak of World War II, UOP scientists and engineers focused their knowledge and talents on developing new catalytic processes, notably alkylation, which helped the U.S. and its allies meet wartime energy requirements, especially for superior aviation fuel.

In 1949, UOP’s research staff developed a radically different refining process that utilized a catalyst containing platinum. This process, called Platforming (TM), revolutionized the art of reforming to produce gasoline with a substantially improved octane number. The process was also instrumental in making benzene available in a quality and quantity never before realized on a commercial scale. With Platforming and other innovative processes, UOP became a vital contributor to the emergence and growth of the petrochemical industry.

In 1975, The Signal Companies Inc. acquired 50.5% of UOP and in 1978 acquired the remaining 49.5%, making UOP a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. When the Signal Companies merged with Allied Corporation in 1985, UOP Inc. became a subsidiary of Allied-Signal Inc.

In 1988, Allied-Signal entered into an agreement with Union Carbide Corporation that resulted in the creation of a unique joint venture company, called simply “UOP.”

In 1998, ownership partners changed as Allied-Signal and Honeywell merged and Union Carbide and Dow completed their merger.

As of November 30, 2005, Honeywell purchased Dow's 50 percent ownership in UOP LLC. UOP is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell as part of Honeywell Specialty Materials strategic business entity."


The foregoing might seem an overly-long and unnecessary exposition; but, we urge you to consider it in light of many of our earlier reports, wherein was documented the Coal conversion interests and expertise, variously, of Allied Chemical, Union Carbide, Dow and Honeywell; all of which, as above, had, and have, involvement with UOP and UOP-developed Coal conversion technology.

In any case, as WWII was drawing to a close, in emulation of the Axis powers Germany and Japan, who, as we've thoroughly documented, were converting Coal into liquid fuels on a broad industrial basis before and during the war, it is seen herein that yet another group of United States scientists figured out how to make liquid fuels from Coal.

And, some of the specific fuels they made from Coal might be of special interest, as we point out, following and within excerpts from the initial link, and attached file, in this dispatch to:

"United States Patent 2,377,728 - Hydrogenation of Hydrocarbonaceous Materials

Date: June, 1945


Inventor: Charles Thomas, IL


Assignee: Universal Oil Products, Chicago


Abstract: This invention relates to the production of valuable liquid products including high antiknock motor fuel from coal.

More specifically it concerns improved catalytic agents for these reactions whereby the quality of the products is substantially improved over those obtainable according to the more conventional methods.

(Note: In 1945, it was officially acknowledged that there were, already, even then, "conventional methods" for "the production of ... motor fuel from coal".)

The advantage of the present catalyst lies in the fact that not only is the liquefaction of coal carried out at least as completely and efficiently as formerly, but the reactions are more selective so that gasoline of higher antiknock value may be obtained. Thus a premium grade of substantially saturated motor fuel useful for aviation purposes may be obtained from the process without necessity for subsequent treatment.

(So, it seems that we can fuel airplanes with the juice this process makes from Coal, without even having to subject it to further refining. And, remember, it was in the time frame of this patent, or shortly thereafter, that WV's US Senator Jennings Randolph, then a US Congressman, flew, as we've thoroughly documented, from Morgantown, WV, to Washington, DC, in a small airplane powered by Coal liquids brewed up for the Congressman by WVU.)

Claims: A conversion process which comprises mixing a slurry of coal in oil with a ... hydrogenating catalyst and a cracking catalyst, passing the resultant mixture, together with hydrogen, through a reaction zone and therein subjecting the mixture to gasoline-producing conversion conditions ... ."

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