United States Patent: 8246731

We are compelled here to inject, by way of foreword, some editorial comment:

This dispatch concerns itself with yet another technology related to the practical reclamation and recycling of Carbon Dioxide: a valuable raw material from which we can, on a practical basis, and using carbon-free environmental energy to drive the chemical transactions, synthesize virtually any hydrocarbon we might wish, including any and all sorts of gaseous and liquid fuels and plastics.

In the face of the relentless and decades-old negative PR campaign that has been, we intuit now deliberately, and for reasons that likely have at their roots very little to do with genuine concerns about the environment, conducted against Carbon Dioxide, the above statement "feels", even to us, after all our research, somehow "wrong" - - that it just can't be true.
That is a reflection of how deeply we have all been negatively, and falsely, conditioned.

But, as we began our research this morning at about 5 AM, with minds still blank from a short night of sleep and with preconceptions of how the day would turn out to be as yet unformed, we visited the Research and Development archives section on the West Virginia Coal Association's web site, obscurely accessible as it is now - - via a minor and anonymous link tucked away above the insultingly-presented portrait of a man who has, through his earlier sponsorship of legislation intended to promote the conversion of Coal into gasoline; through his blocking of George Bush-era EPA initiatives to reclassify Coal Ash as hazardous waste; through his blocking of carbon taxes; and, through assignment of his second in command to oversee allocation of funds directed, in part, towards the research and development of CO2-recycling technologies; proven himself to be not just a supporter of Coal, but a champion of it.

And, in any case, again, when we scanned the collection of reports, with their supporting documents, on just the first page of the Coal Association's R&D Archives, even we were stunned.

The evidence is overwhelming, that, around the world, it is clearly known and understood that Carbon Dioxide can be reclaimed from the environment and be recycled, using inputs only of environmental energy if desired, into hydrocarbon gases and liquids of all sorts.

That fact is as true as the fact that our, the United States', most potent and formidable competitor on the world's economic and political stage, China, is in the midst of a new industrial revolution founded on the economical and efficient conversion of abundant Coal into conventional liquid hydrocarbon fuels, just as they have been doing in the modern, basically Western, nation of South Africa for more than the past half a century.

All without a peep about it appearing in our Coal Country commercial public press.

But, regardless of what anyone does, or does not, for their own now-suspect reasons want you to know, it is absolutely true, that:

Carbon Dioxide is a vast and freely-available raw material resource well-suited for the manufacture of synthetic hydrocarbons; and, that fact has been irrefutably established by unimpeachable sources as diverse as ExxonMobil; Siemens AG; the United States Departments of Energy and Defense; and, institutions of higher learning as diverse as the University of Oxford; the Pennsylvania State University; WVU; Princeton University; the University of Southern California; and, Columbia University.

In an earlier dispatch, now accessible via:

West Virginia Coal Association | US Navy and Columbia University Recycle Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development;

we documented the facts, that, as explained in:

"United States Patent 7,420,004 - Process and System for Producing Synthetic Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels; 2008; Assignee: The USA as Represented by the Secretary of the Navy; Abstract: A process for producing synthetic hydrocarbons that reacts carbon dioxide, obtained from seawater or air, and hydrogen obtained from water, with a catalyst in a chemical process such as reverse water gas shift combined with Fischer Tropsch synthesis"; and, in:

"United States Patent 7,833,328 - Scrubber for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from Air; 2010; Inventors: Klaus Lackner, NY, and Dennis Wright, AZ; Assignee: Columbia University; Abstract: The present invention is directed to methods for carbon dioxide from air, which comprises exposing solvent covered surfaces to air streams where the airflow is kept laminar, or close to the laminar regime. The invention also provides for an apparatus, which is a laminar scrubber, comprising solvent covered surfaces situated such that they can be exposed to air streams such that the airflow is kept laminar. A scrubber apparatus for capturing carbon dioxide from open air";

the technologies exist to enable us to, first, extract Carbon Dioxide from the air around us, and, then, to convert that Carbon Dioxide into "synthetic hydrocarbons"; that is, into synthetic liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

And, herein, we wanted to further affirm that it is feasible to consider, on a practical basis, not just the recovery of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere itself, but, the recovery of CO2 in a form that enables regeneration of relatively pure CO2, so that it is then more readily available for follow-on processing, like that disclosed in our above-cited report concerning "United States Patent 7,420,004 - Process and System for Producing Synthetic Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels".

And, again, the technology disclosed herein originates with the accomplished Carbon scientist, Klaus Lackner, and a colleague, at New York City's Columbia University; and, it is the disclosure of a CO2-capture technology that includes, in addition to an explanation of the chemical processes involved, some disclosure of the design of the apparatus itself, a design intended to enhance the CO2 extraction process.

Our excerpts will of necessity be, unfortunately, too brief to fully convey the extent of thought and detail that has gone into the conceptual design; and, we focus our excerpts on just the essential chemical technicalities - - and on the fact, that, as will be seen, this process is intended to extract CO2 efficiently from the atmosphere not just for "sequestration", but, for recycling; and, the synthesis of hydrocarbons from the reclaimed Carbon Dioxide.

Comment follows, and is inserted within, excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to the recent:

"United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air

Systems and methods for extraction of carbon dioxide from air - The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York

Date: August 21, 2012

Inventors: Klaus Lackner and Frank Zeman, NY

Assignee: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York

(We have cited Columbia scientist Frank Zeman previously; and, will do so again in reports to follow, wherein it will be seen that he has been pooling talent and collaborating with Carbon Dioxide scientists from other nations, whose work we have also separately reported to you.

Concerning Klaus Lackner, see:

Lenfest Center - "Klaus Lackner is the Ewing Worzel Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, where he is also the Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and a member of the Earth Institute faculty. From 2006 to 2012 he was the Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. Lackner’s current research interests include carbon capture and sequestration, air capture, energy systems and scaling properties (including synthetic fuels and wind energy), energy and environmental policy, lifecycle analysis, and zero emission modeling for coal and cement plants. Lackner’s scientific career started in the phenomenology of weakly interacting particles. After joining Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 1983, Lackner became involved in hydrodynamic work and fusion-related research. He was a scientist in the Theoretical Division, but also an active part of the Laboratory’s upper management. He was instrumental in forming the Zero Emission Coal Alliance and was a lead author in the IPCC Report on Carbon Capture and Storage. In 2001, Lackner joined the faculty at Columbia University. In 2004, he became a member of Global Research Technologies, LLC, which is now known as Kilimanjaro Energy, Inc.".

The above Kilimanjaro Energy, with whom Lackner is now associated, as we've begun to see, in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Efficient Capture of Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 7,993,432 - Air Collector ... for Capturing Ambient CO2;  2011; Inventors: Dennis Wright and Eddy Peters, AZ; Assignee: Kilimanjaro Energy, Inc., WI; Abstract: An apparatus for capture of CO2 from the atmosphere comprising an anion exchange material formed in a matrix exposed to a flow of the air. Claims: A process for removing CO2 from atmospheric air at a location remote from where the CO2 was generated";

are developing their own, proprietary CO2 collection technologies which seem in some ways to complement those being developed by Lackner and colleagues for assignment to Columbia University; and, as we will see in coming reports, Kilimanjaro seem to be no longer headquartered in Wisconsin, but, in Arizona, a fact which could well figure in to the actual, physical operation of the process of our subject herein, "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air".)

Abstract: The present invention describes methods and systems for extracting, capturing, reducing, storing, sequestering, or disposing of carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly from the air. The CO2 extraction methods and systems involve the use of chemical processes. Methods are also described for extracting and/or capturing CO2 via exposing air containing carbon dioxide to a solution comprising a base - - resulting in a basic solution which absorbs carbon dioxide and produces a carbonate solution. The solution is causticized and the temperature is increased to release carbon dioxide, followed by hydration of solid components to regenerate the base.

Claims: A system for extracting or capturing carbon dioxide from atmospheric air, comprising: adjacent towers each including a front portion, side portions joined with said front portion and extending to end edges, and an open back portion defined between said end edges, said tower portions including front surfaces and back surfaces, said towers positioned so as to define a narrowed passage therebetween; a wet scrubbing mechanism positioned within each open back portion between said end edges, said wet scrubbing mechanism introducing a basic solution to absorb at least a portion of an amount of carbon dioxide contained in atmospheric air flowing through each open back portion thereby forming a carbonate solution; a filter positioned on said back surfaces; adjustable openings defined in side portions of said towers that are adjacent to said narrowed passage, said openings providing a conduit between said front and back surfaces via said filter; a treatment module including a supply of reagent in communication with said carbonate solution for causticizing said carbonate solution; and a regeneration module for hydrating solid components remaining after said treatment module to regenerate a base material included in said basic solution.

The system ... wherein said narrowed passage is configured to cause atmospheric flowing therein to reduce in pressure thereby drawing atmospheric air located in said open back portion and having a higher pressure through said filter and into said narrowed passage (and) wherein said adjustable openings are defined by shutters or baffles.

The system ... further comprising a supply of basic solution in fluid connection with said wet scrubbing mechanism (and) wherein the base material included in said basic solution is selected from sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide.

The system ... wherein the base material is sodium hydroxide (and) wherein the carbonate solution is a sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) solution.

The system ... wherein said supply of reagent is sodium tri-titanate or calcium hydroxide.

The system ... wherein said openings are increased in size when a high speed wind is moving through said narrowed passage and decreased in size when a low speed wind is moving through said narrowed passage thereby maintaining a substantially constant pressure drop across said filter.

The system ... wherein said treatment module further comprises a heat source for heating or calcining said carbonate solution.

(It is, in other words, a cyclic process similar to others we have reported to you; one that requires little but the input of heat energy to drive the reclamation of CO2, with little needing to be added, we expect, but makeup water. That, we suspect, was behind the move of Kilimanjaro Energy, with whom inventor Lackner is associated, from Wisconsin, as we will see in reports to follow, to the sunnier climes of Arizona, where solar energy could be far more easily harnessed to effect the needed "heating or calcining" for release of the captured CO2 and regeneration of the "base" CO2 absorbent.)

Background: The combustion of fossil fuels provides the vast majority of the global energy supply. The necessary byproduct of this combustion is carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. Accumulation of CO2 gas in the atmosphere has provoked concern regarding its effect on the global climate and spawned worldwide interest in the reduction of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

One approach of managing atmospheric emissions is through a chemical process known as air extraction, by which CO2 is removed directly from the atmosphere. The present invention presents a preliminary design for a plant that used wet scrubber techniques to remove CO2 directly from air.

Summary: The present invention relates generally to the field of extractors, including those that work to extract carbon dioxide from air. The present invention relates to methods and devices for extracting carbon using wet scrubbing techniques.

It is a general aspect of the present invention to provide new methods or processes for extracting, reducing, capturing, disposing of, sequestering, or storing CO2 or removing excess CO2 from the air, as well as new methods and processes for reducing, alleviating, or eliminating CO2 in the air, and/or the emissions of CO2 to the air. Another aspect of the invention relates to apparatuses, such as wind or air capture systems, to remove or extract CO2 from air. As used herein, the term "air" refers to ambient air, rather than emitted gas, such as gas that is emitted from a smoke stack or an exhaust pipe.

The capture of CO2 from air allows the CO2 to be recovered; thereafter, renewable energy can be used to convert the CO2 (and water) back into a new hydrocarbon.

The production of hydrocarbon can include a number of processes. Illustratively, Fischer Tropsch reactions are conventionally used to convert carbon monoxide and hydrogen to liquid fuels, such as diesel and gasoline ... .

Similar methods using CO2 and hydrogen are also established. Hydrocarbon can be produced from CO2 and hydrogen. Hydrocarbon production typically involves the use of energy, e.g., electric energy, to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen, or CO2 into CO and oxygen. Thereafter, fuels such as methanol, diesel, gasoline, dimethyl-ether (DME), etc. can be made."

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There should be nothing new for you in our concluding excerpt. One of the "established" "methods using CO2 and hydrogen" to produce hydrocarbons can, just for one example, be seen in our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | Saudi Arabia and Texas CO2 to Hydrocarbon Syngas | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 8,288,446 - Catalytic Hydrogenation of CO2 into Syngas Mixture; Date: October 16, 2012; Assignee: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Riyadh; Abstract: The invention relates to a process of making a syngas mixture containing hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, comprising a step of contacting a gaseous feed mixture containing carbon dioxide and hydrogen with a catalyst".

And, our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | Conoco Converts CO2 to Methanol and Dimethyl Ether | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 6,664,207 - Catalyst for Converting Carbon Dioxide to Oxygenates; 2003; Assignee: ConocoPhillips Company, Houston; Abstract: A catalyst and process for converting carbon dioxide into ... methanol and dimethyl ether";

confirms Lackner's claim that recovered CO2  can be converted into Methanol, and the substitute Diesel fuel, "dimethyl ether"; while, our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | USDOE Converts CO2 to Gasoline | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 4,197,421 - Synthetic Carbonaceous Fuels and Feedstocks; 1980; Assignee: The United States of America; Abstract: This invention relates to the use of a three compartment electrolytic cell in the production of synthetic carbonaceous fuels and chemical feedstocks such as gasoline, methane and methanol by electrolyzing an aqueous sodium carbonate/bicarbonate solution, obtained from scrubbing atmospheric carbon dioxide with an aqueous sodium hydroxide solution, whereby the hydrogen generated at the cathode and the carbon dioxide liberated in the center compartment are combined thermocatalytically into methanol and gasoline blends";

confirms that Carbon Dioxide, as captured from the atmosphere itself according to the process of our subject herein, "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air", using "sodium hydroxide (and a) sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) solution", can be converted - - as our subject indicates to be the case, in one, integrated process, by "electrolyzing (that) aqueous sodium carbonate/bicarbonate solution" - - into "gasoline blends".

Yet again, it is demonstrated and confirmed:

Carbon Dioxide, as it arises in only a small way, relative to natural and inexorable processes of emission such as the Earth's planetary volcanism, from our essential use of Coal in the generation of truly abundant and genuinely economical electrical power, is a valuable raw material resource.

We can, according to Columbia University in their disclosure of the process of our subject herein, "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air", efficiently harvest Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere itself, rather than burdening our Coal-fired power plants with expensive and parasitic CO2 capture devices; and, then, in one contiguous process, rather than continue on in blind economic slavery to OPEC and Big Oil, convert that reclaimed Carbon Dioxide into "fuels such as methanol, diesel, gasoline, (and) dimethyl-ether".

Now, we have to ask:

Is there some reason, some good reason, we United States citizens, especially those of us living and working in United States Coal Country, shouldn't be told, shouldn't be given the truth, of these matters concerning Coal, Carbon Dioxide, our national US economy and our national US security?

If so, what is that reason?

If not, why haven't we yet been told?

We're due an answer, from someone. And, maybe it's time we all, all those of us who actually care, got together and figured out a way to start asking those questions - - of our apparently disassociated Coal Country news media and of our Coal Country political leadership - - in one, concerted and louder, voice.

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