United States Patent: 4439304


Our understanding of the available literature is that the lead inventor named in this US Patent, John Sudbury, who passed away earlier this year, was a chemical engineer who actually started out, in 1949, working for Continental Oil Company.

He seems to have been transferred to Consolidation Coal Company, Consol, sometime after Continental acquired them in 1966.

In any case, while at Consol, he, and another Consol Coal conversion scientist, whom  we have cited for you previously, devised a way to accomplish something we have, from other sources, documented to be feasible:

Co-producing virtually Sulfur-free hydrocarbon liquids and carbonaceous solids, and, consequently, from the solids, a Sulfur-free hydrocarbon synthesis gas, from relatively-high Sulfur Coal.

The technology is, we believe, simply an advancement on the various Solvent-Refined Coal,  "SRC", extraction processes, about which we have earlier reported; and, which the US Government, usually through corporate contractors, reduced to practice at pilot plants in the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Washington several decades ago.


Brief comment follows excerpts from:


"United States Patent 4,439,304 - Process for Beneficiating High Sulfur, High Fluidity Coal


Date: March, 1984


Inventors: John Sudbury and Clyde Zielke, PA


Assignee: Conoco Inc., DE


Abstract: A method of forming a liquefied coal product having a lower sulfur percent by weight than the solid coal from which it is derived comprising ... mixing (solid coal and calcium oxide) with liquefaction solvent to form a liquefaction mixture, hydrogenating and heating said liquefaction mixture (and) forming a liquefied coal product having residual coal solids and calcium sulfide solids, said liquefied coal product having a liquefied coal product sulfur percent by weight, which is less than said solid coal sulfur percent by weight.

Claims: A method of forming a liquefied coal product having a lower sulfur percent by weight than the high sulfur solid coal feed from which it is derived

(And) fractionating said liquid liquefied coal product to form a low surfur liquid product and a low sulfur bottom fraction, said low sulfur liquid product comprising naphtha and fuel oil and having substantially less than two weight percent sulfur, 

(And) gasifying said low sulfur bottom fraction in a gasification means to form a hydrogen-rich gas product."



We presume the "low sulfur bottom fraction" is to be gasified with Steam, so as "to form" such "a hydrogen-rich gas product", which we further presume to be amenable to Fischer-Tropsch, or related, catalytic condensation into liquid hydrocarbons.

That, in addition to the low-sulfur Gasoline blending stock, "naphtha", and to the low-sulfur "fuel oil" first products of the technology.

Further, in confirmation of many previous reports we have submitted, any needed "liquefaction solvent", as above, can be extracted as a primary Coal tar, or Coal liquid. The inventors, through extensive reference to prior Coal conversion art, identify the "preferred", as they put it, "coal derived dissolving solvents" which could be used in this process to include "fused ring aromatic hydroaromatic and alicyclic hydrocarbons ... such as tetralin, decalin, diphenyl, methyl naphthalene, diphenyl naphthalene, fluorene, anthracene, phenanthrene, pyrene and chrysene", all of which, like the perhaps better-known "anthracene", are components of Coal tar, or are derivatives of Coal tar.

"Tetralin", we are compelled to note, is, we believe, both, an hydrogenated form of the Coal oil, Naphthalene, and, specified by West Virginia University as the preferred solvent in their "West Virginia Process" for the direct liquefaction of Coal.

Even further, note that this also represents another instance wherein still-carbonaceous residues, from a primary Coal conversion process, can be further treated to extract even more hydrocarbon values.

But, it is a "reversal" of the "COED" process, operated for the US Government by FMC Corporation, with the participation of Atlantic Richfield, wherein carbonaceous residues from an initial gasification of Coal, to form hydrocarbon syngas, were sent to Spain for further treatment and liquefaction with tetralin.

We have documented all of those Coal conversion potentials, and demonstrated actualities, previously.

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