The enclosed United States Patent, issued very nearly three decades ago to Exxon, thoroughly describes, and plainly confirms, how both Methane and the liquid fuel, Methanol, can be synthesized from raw materials produced by the Steam gasification of Coal.
 
Moreover, the process is, overall, "thermoneutral"; meaning that, as in other Coal conversion technologies we have documented for you, all of the energy needed to drive the total process of synthesizing gaseous and liquid hydrocarbons from Coal can be generated as one integral function of that Coal conversion process.
 
In the full Disclosure, it is revealed that at least some of the co-produced Carbon Dioxide is recycled into the synthesis gas generation process, where, presumably, like the Coal, and in the presence of the hot Coal, which, as we have earlier documented, serves to convert CO2 into reactive Carbon Monoxide, the CO2 becomes involved in hydrogenation reactions with the Steam, and, thus, contributes to formation of the Methane and Methanol synthesis gases. 
 
Since Methanol is the desired end product of this process, The Methane, co-generated by the Steam gasification of the Coal, as well, it seems, is channeled into further reactions with Steam to generate even more Methanol synthesis gas.
 
There may be other options, though, as we further explain following excerpts from:
 
"United States Patent 4,348,486 - Production of Methanol via Catalytic Coal Gasification
 
Date: September, 1982
 
Inventor: William Calvin, et. al., NJ
 
Assignee: Exxon Research and Engineering Company, NJ
 
Abstract: Methanol is produced by gasifying a carbonaceous feed material with steam in the presence of a carbon-alkali metal catalyst and added hydrogen and carbon monoxide ... to produce a raw product gas comprising methane, steam, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide; withdrawing the raw product gas from the gasifier and treating it for the removal of steam, particulates, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide to produce a treated gas containing primarily carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane; separating the treated gas into a methane-rich gas stream and a gas stream containing primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen; passing the methane-rich gas stream to a steam reforming furnace wherein a portion of the methane is reacted with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide which is then passed from the steam reforming furnace into the gasifier; passing the gas stream containing primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen to a methanol synthesis reactor where the carbon monoxide is reacted with the hydrogen in the presence of a methanol synthesis catalyst to form methanol; recovering methanol product from the effluent exiting the methanol synthesis reactor thereby leaving a gas comprised of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide; and recycling at least a portion of this gas to the separation step of the process.
 
Claims: A process for the production of methanol (comprising) gasifying ... carbonaceous feed material with steam ...  in the presence of a carbon-alkali metal catalyst and added hydrogen and carbon monoxide; (and) wherein said carbonaceous feed material comprises coal.
 
(Product) gas is separated into a methane-rich gas stream and a gas stream containing primarily carbon monoxide and hydrogen; (and) ... a portion of said methane is reacted with steam to produce (more) hydrogen and carbon monoxide ... .
 
A process for the production of methanol from coal which comprises: gasifying said coal with steam in a gasification zone ... in the presence of ... added hydrogen and carbon monoxide; treating said effluent gas for the removal of steam and particulates (and) removing ... hydrogen sulfide ... .
 
Background: This invention relates to the gasification of coal ... and is particularly concerned with producing methanol by ... a catalytic gasification process ... .

Existing and proposed processes for the manufacture of synthetic gaseous fuels from coal or similar carbonaceous materials normally require the reaction of carbon with steam ... to produce a gas which may contain some methane but consists primarily of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This gas can be used directly as a synthesis gas or a fuel gas with little added processing or can be reacted with additional steam to increase the hydrogen-to-carbon monoxide ratio and then fed to a catalytic methanation unit for reaction with carbon monoxide and hydrogen to produce methane.
 
Summary: This invention provides a process for producing methanol by the substantially thermoneutral reaction of steam with coal ... .
 
It will be apparent ... that the invention provides a process for producing methanol via the catalytic gasification of coal and similar carbonaceous feed materials. The process of the invention has advantages over conventional methanol synthesis processes in that it results in higher yields of methanol without sacrificing overall process efficiency."
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First of all, keep in mind: ExxonMobil knows how, through their "MTG"(r) process, as we have documented, and as we will further document, to convert Methanol, as herein synthesized from Coal, into Gasoline.
 
Beyond that, our read of the full Disclosure suggests that not all of the Carbon Dioxide recovered from the synthesis gas is recycled back into the system, though that is not clearly stated, nor is provision for the disposal of Carbon Dioxide specified.
 
We submit that any reclaimed, but un-recycled, Carbon Dioxide could be "tri-reformed", as per our reports concerning Penn State University's, and others', development of such technology, with the Methane that is co-produced herein from Steam and Coal, in order to form another stream of hydrocarbon synthesis gas; rather than, as seems to be specified herein, simply reacting that Methane alone with more Steam, as in: "passing the methane-rich gas stream to a steam reforming furnace wherein a portion of the methane is reacted with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide", to form more Methanol synthesis gas to be blended into that syngas already being made via the Steam gasification of Coal, as in: "gasifying said coal with steam in a gasification zone ... in the presence of ... added hydrogen and carbon monoxide".

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