United States Patent: 8273160

Much of the ground we cover herein might seem almost unbearably redundant.

Yesterday, we sent you a report concerning Carbon Dioxide harvesting technology closely-related and coincident with the subject of our discourse herein; and, unfortunately, that specific technology was one, we just discovered, about which we had already reported a few months ago.

We apologize for all of the regrind, all of the wasted time; and, won't dwell again on the rather difficult personal circumstances we work against here that lead to it.
Our hope remains that at least one or two of our addressees and readers will share our sense of the importance of these matters; and, be thus motivated to look past our imperfect presentation of them.

And, the new report, now accessible via:

West Virginia Coal Association | Columbia University Practical Extraction of Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development;

does contain some additional information and links to supporting documentation that might still make it worth the read. Further, the scientists behind the developments recorded in that report are also responsible for the advances we bring to your attention herein; and they are, in fact, responsible for a whole suite of related CO2 technologies which we will be treating, off and on, in coming months.

That said, and, again, we beg your patience and your understanding, in an earlier dispatch we have now referred to many times, 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 our environment, and, then, to convert that Carbon Dioxide into "synthetic hydrocarbons"; that is, into synthetic liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

And, Columbia University reaffirmed the practicality of atmospheric CO2 reclamation in our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | Columbia University August 2012 Practical CO2 Air Capture | Research & Development; concerning; "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air; August 21, 2012; Inventors: Klaus Lackner and Frank Zeman; Assignee: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York; Abstract: The present invention describes methods and systems for extracting, capturing, reducing, storing, sequestering, or disposing of carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly from the air";

which "United States Patent 8,246,731" was the redundant subject as well of yesterday's dispatch, as noted above.

And, herein, Columbia University scholar Klaus Lackner and a team of scientists he is now working with to commercialize Carbon Dioxide reclamation technology provide us with even more evidence of the fact, that, it isn't necessary to retrofit and saddle our profitable and productive Coal-based power generation facilities with hugely expensive, counter-productive and parasitic Carbon Dioxide capture devices.

If we, if anyone, for any purpose, wants to collect and concentrate Carbon Dioxide, then that CO2 can be efficiently harvested from the atmosphere itself; perhaps where sources of environmental energy and other circumstances of the environment, such as abundant and steady wind, can be harnessed to make the harvesting of Carbon Dioxide more economical and more efficient.

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

"United States Patent 8,273,160 - Method and Apparatus for Extracting Carbon Dioxide from Air

Method and apparatus for extracting carbon dioxide from air - Kilimanjaro Energy, Inc.

Date: September 25, 2012

Inventors: Alan Wright, Klaus Lackner, and Ursula Ginster, AZ

(Though Lackner is stated herein to be a resident of Arizona, he is still officially on the faculty of Columbia University, in New York City. 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. 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"; and:

Kilimanjaro Energy; "Kilimanjaro Energy is developing technologies to capture carbon dioxide from the air for beneficial commercial use in a variety of existing and new industries. Our technologies will economically capture CO2 wherever and whenever it is needed. Atmospheric CO2 is a vast resource whose transformation into useful products can help humanity close the carbon cycle. Kilimanjaro’s core technology was discovered by Dr. Klaus Lackner and Allen Wright with the generous financial support of the late Gary Comer and the Comer Science & Education Foundation. As of 2010, the Company has begun commercializing its developments with the added support of ARCH Venture Partners".)

Assignee: Kilimanjaro Energy, Inc., San Francisco, CA

(Note that the Assignee of Rights, Kilimanjaro Energy, began operations in Wisconsin, as seen in our even earlier report of:

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; An apparatus for capture of CO2 from the atmosphere ... at a location remote from where the CO2 was generated".

Our supposition is, that, based on their seemingly now-preferred use for reclaimed Carbon Dioxide, as will be explained, they elected to effect a move to a geographic area with climate conditions more amenable to their plans.)

Abstract: A method and apparatus for extracting CO2 from air comprising an anion exchange material formed in a matrix exposed to a flow of the air, and for delivering that extracted CO2 to controlled environments. The present invention contemplates the extraction of CO2 from air using conventional extraction methods or by using one of the extraction methods disclosed; e.g., humidity swing or electro dialysis. The present invention also provides delivery of the CO2 to greenhouses where increased levels of CO2 will improve conditions for growth. Alternatively, the CO2 is fed to an algae culture.

(We'll have an alternative suggestion about what can be done with the reclaimed CO2 following additional excerpts. But, concerning the suggestion herein, that "the CO2 is fed to an algae culture", see, for a few examples illustrating how productive that option might be, our reports of:

West Virginia Coal Association | California Algae Make Oil from Coal Power Plant Exhaust | Research & Development; and:

West Virginia Coal Association | Chevron Algae Recycle Coal Conversion CO2 into Bio-Diesel | Research & Development.)

Claims: An apparatus for the capture of CO2 from ambient air comprising:

(a) an anion exchange material that captures CO2 from a flow of ambient air;

(b) a store-of liquid water;

(c) a liquid water dispenser that delivers liquid water from said store of liquid water to said anion exchange material;

(d) an outlet exposed to ambient air and downstream of said anion exchange material, through which air depleted of CO2 exits the apparatus ... .

The apparatus ... further comprising a pump that delivers CO2 released from said anion exchange material into an algae culture (and) further comprising a means for cycling said anion exchange material between exposure to air and release of captured CO2 (and) wherein said means for cycling comprises a mechanism for moving said anion exchange material into and out of a moist environment (or) for delivering moisture to the anion exchange material.

The apparatus ... wherein said ion exchange resin comprises Anion I-200 ion exchange membrane material.

(That kind of thing is quite real, practical and commercially available. See:

Excellion Ion Exchange Membrane by SnowPure; "High Technology Water Products. SnowPure's ion exchange membrane product line ((tradename Excellion (TM)) includes proprietary, patented, new heterogeneous membranes. These membranes may be used for electrodialysis, electrodeposition paint processes and general electrochemical separations. SnowPure has received several US and foreign patents for its new membrane and process. Standard Products: Anion 1200".)

The apparatus ... further comprising a sorbent to which collected CO2 is transferred (and) wherein said sorbent is selected from the group consisting of: liquid amines, ionic liquids, solid CO2 sorbents, lithium zirconate, lithium silicate, magnesium hydroxide, and calcium hydroxide.

The apparatus ... wherein said sorbent comprises an ion exchange resin (and) wherein said anion exchange material comprises a material from which 60% of said captured CO2 is releasable by wetting or swing in humidity.

The apparatus ... wherein said controlled environment comprises a headspace above an algae culture.

The apparatus ...  wherein said anion exchange material comprises a material that extracts CO2 from air when dry and releases the extracted CO2 captured by the anion exchange material when exposed to water or air of higher relative humidity in the absence of a thermal swing (and) wherein said store of liquid water comprises warm humid air that is warmed by solar radiation.

Background and Field: The present invention in one aspect relates to removal of selected gases from air. The invention has particular utility for the extraction and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and will be described in connection with such utilities, although other utilities are contemplated.

Extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air would make it possible to use carbon-based fuels and deal with the associated greenhouse gas emissions after the fact. Since CO2 is neither poisonous nor harmful in parts per million quantities, but creates environmental problems simply by accumulating in the atmosphere, it is possible to remove CO2 from air in order to compensate for equally sized emissions elsewhere and at different times.

Most prior art methods, however, result in the inefficient capture of CO2 from air because these processes heat or cool the air, or change the pressure of the air by substantial amounts. As a result, the net loss in CO2 is negligible as the cleaning process may introduce CO2 into the atmosphere as a byproduct of the generation of electricity used to power the process.

There are also many uses for sequestered CO2. This includes the use of CO2 in greenhouses where higher levels of CO2 contribute to increased plant growth. CO2 may also be supplied to algae cultures. Researchers have shown that algae can remove up to 90% of gaseous CO2 from air streams enriched in CO2 and can also reduce the CO2 concentration in ambient air.

Summary: In (one) exemplary embodiment, this invention allows the transfer of CO2 from a collector medium into an algae culture, where the CO2 carbon is fixed in biomass. The algae biomass can then be used for the production of biochemical compounds, fertilizer, soil conditioner, health food, and biofuels to name just a few applications or end-uses.

(The) present invention provides a simple, relative low-cost solution that addresses both CO2 capture from ambient air and subsequent disposal of the captured CO2".


Such "algae biomass", does have a wide range of uses, as we acknowledged above through citation of a couple of our earlier reports; but, keep in mind that in one aspect this invention relates to an efficient process for extracting Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere, and then making that CO2 available for further processing, even in places that might be a tad on the cloudy and sometimes chilly side for the efficient mass cultivation of Algae to consume the captured CO2 and make "biofuels" out of it.

That being the case, we remind you that, in addition to our above-cited process of "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 (from) carbon dioxide";

other technologies for the productive direct chemical recycling of Carbon Dioxide, as seen, for just one other example, in our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | CO2 to Alcohol and Diesel Fuel | Research & Development; concerning:

"United States Patent 8,212,088 - Efficient and Selective Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and Derived Products; Date: July 3, 2012; Inventors: George Olah and G.K. Surya Prakash;
Assignee: University of Southern California; Abstract: An efficient and environmentally beneficial method of recycling and producing methanol from varied sources of carbon dioxide including flue gases of fossil fuel burning powerplants, industrial exhaust gases or the atmosphere itself. Converting carbon dioxide by chemical or electrochemical reduction secondary treatment to produce essentially methanol, dimethyl ether and derived products";

also exist; and, are available for us to put to work freeing us all from economic enslavement to OPEC; and, freeing our vital Coal extraction and Coal use industries, and, by extension, the consumers of Coal-based electric power, from deepening economic enslavement to a government that seems intent, through military adventure in the Persian Gulf and on the Arabian Peninsula, to spend our tax money to abet and enable our unhealthy, our disastrous, addiction to foreign Oil and our dependence on the national and corporate cartels who conspire to, on their own demanding terms, keep us supplied with it.

And, speaking of being put to work, this is about the point in many of our dissertations where we make a lame attempt to flog that sorry old rag doll, our Coal Country public press, into some kind of assertive, patriotic, conveyance of information concerning all these potentials to the people who, more than anyone else, deserve to be told of them:

The hard-working United States citizens of United States Coal Country.

But, clearly now, those poor ink-stained wretches have, over the years, gotten used to being flogged; and, once folks get to that point, there ain't much you can do for, or with, them. Like an old plow horse standing still in the sun, they've gotten so used to the whip that their thick skin barely twitches when a leather strap raises dust on their collective rump.

Figure we'll just have to wait a few years for the shale gas to dry up - - rather sooner than later, it will - - and, for our press people to go through what will likely be some unpleasant withdrawals when the cut-and-paste stories about shale gas glories stop drifting down on the wires from the Associated Press and United Press International, who themselves can never get enough corporate news releases to make their jobs easier, it seems.

Make no mistake, the message should be getting crystal clear:

Carbon Dioxide is a valuable raw material resource.

We can extract Carbon Dioxide in large quantities efficiently from the atmosphere itself, as via the process of our subject, "United States Patent 8,273,160 - Method and Apparatus for Extracting Carbon Dioxide from Air", any place where confluences of relatively high natural air movement and environmental energy which can be harnessed to help drive the necessary processes exist. 

We can then, as via a process like that disclosed, again for only one more example, in our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | Carbon Dioxide to Gasoline and Diesel | Research & Development; concerning:

"United States Patent 8,198,338 - Process for Producing Liquid Fuel from Carbon Dioxide and Water; 2012; Assignee: CRI EHF, Iceland; Abstract: A process for producing high octane fuel from carbon dioxide and water is disclosed. The feedstock for the production line is industrial carbon dioxide and water, which may be of lower quality. The end product can be high octane gasoline";

convert that Carbon Dioxide into stuff we now seem willing to sacrifice our own current national prosperity and mortgage our grandchildren's future to foreign and unfriendly powers just to keep ourselves supplied with in the here and now.

West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw