United States Patent: 4348487

We consistently, even tediously, make reference in our reports to the ExxonMobil "MTG"(r) process, wherein Methanol is converted into Gasoline; and, we consistently note that ExxonMobil posits that the Methanol is to be made from Coal, just as Eastman Chemical, as we've several times documented for you, is now producing Methanol, from Coal, at a plant in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Six months ago, as available via: Exxon Methanol & Methane from Coal | Research & Development | News , we made report to the West Virginia Coal Association of, then just, Exxon's 1976 US Patent 3,993,457, for the "Concurrent Production of Methanol and Synthetic Natural Gas", wherein they produced Methanol by, as a first step in the process, "gasifying a carbonaceous feed material", such as Coal, "with steam"; and, wherein they also, concurrently, produced Methane as a valuable by-product.

Herein, as available via the initial enclosed link, we see that Exxon continued to develop their technology for converting Coal into Methanol, and did so in a way that maximized production of Methanol and minimized co-production of Methane; with any Methane that was co-produced being recycled into the syngas generation unit; or, simply, used as fuel in certain stages of the process.

Note that Steam - in confirmation of other, similar Coal conversion technologies we have documented for you, such as USP 3,993,457, above - can be made to serve as the source of Hydrogen for hydrogenating the primarily Carbon content of Coal.


Comment follows excerpts from:


"United States Patent 4,348,487 - Production of Methanol via Catalytic Coal Gasification


Date: September, 1982


Inventors: Stuart Goldstein, et. al., NJ


Assignee: Exxon Research and Engineering Company, NJ


Abstract: Methanol is produced by gasifying a carbonaceous feed material with steam ... 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 ... 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 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 passing a portion of this gas to a steam reforming furnace wherein at least 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. Preferably, at least a portion of the methane-rich gas produced in the separation step is used as fuel for the steam reforming furnace.

Background: This invention relates to the gasification of coal and similar carbonaceous materials and ... the manufacture of synthetic gaseous fuels.

(And, since) there may be a great need in the future for storable synthetic liquids that can be used to fuel vehicles, it may be highly desirable to utilize the thermoneutral process for gasifying carbonaceous materials described above in a manner which would allow the production of liquids instead of gases.

Summary: This invention provides a process for producing methanol by the substantially thermoneutral reaction of steam with coal ... .

(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 the efficient use of the methanol purge gas to supply heat to the gasification process."


So, the "methane-rich gas produced" in certain stages of the process, such as "the methanol purge", is directed to be used as fuel in other reaction stages needing a supply of heat.

It could also, we submit, be directed back into the gasification stage, to react with Steam and Coal, and be converted thereby into additional Methanol synthesis gas.

Or, a portion of the Methane could, we further submit, be combined with what seems to be the relatively small amount of Carbon Dioxide that is co-produced, as well, by this Methanol production technology, and, be "bi-reformed" or "tri-reformed", as per many of our previous reports, with that CO2, and be made thereby to generate even more hydrocarbons.

Note, too, that via separate report today, we are sending along information on a different sort of Carbon Dioxide recycling technology, developed jointly by DOE and EPA scientists, which results in the formation of some elemental Carbon as a by-product. We submit that there is no reason why such elemental Carbon couldn't be just tossed in with the Coal in this Exxon technology, be gasified with the Steam, and be made thereby to synthesize Methanol.

Wherein we have further demonstration of yet another process technology, wherein the valuable and versatile Gasoline and Plastics raw material, Methanol, can be, especially since the process is "thermoneutral", made from nothing but Steam and Coal.

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