United States Patent: 5026475


We have earlier reported and documented that chemical reactions between Water and Carbon Monoxide can be orchestrated so as to provide for the hydrogenation of Carbon; and, thus, enable the synthesis of hydrocarbons.

That would seem a fact which could logically be applied to the hydrogenation and liquefaction of Coal, especially since we can make all of the Carbon Monoxide we might need for such a process from Coal.

Such logic did not escape the scientists at Exxon.

Herein, we see that they developed a technology wherein Carbon Monoxide could be used to enhance the conversion of Coal into hydrocarbons; and, fortuitously, also enable the extraction and conversion of further hydrocarbon values from any still-carbonaceous residues left by the initial Coal processing.

Further, as a bonus, not only does Exxon use Coal-derived Carbon Monoxide to facilitate Coal hydrogenation, but:

All of the solvent needed in the initial Coal liquefaction can be made within the process, from Coal; and


All of the Hydrogen needed for the Coal liquid hydrogenation can be generated by further treatment of the Coal liquefaction residues; and. from Water initially blended into the starting Coal and solvent mix.

Comment follows somewhat extended excerpts from the above link to:

"United States Patent 5,026,475 - Coal Hydroconversion Process

Date: June, 1991

Inventor: Gordon Stuntz, et. al., LA

Assignee: Exxon Research and Engineering Company, NJ

Abstract: An improved process for the hydroconversion of coal comprising pretreating coal in an aqueous carbon monoxide-containing environment, followed by extracting a soluble hydrocarbon material from the coal, and subsequently hydroconverting the extracted material in a hydroconversion reactor. The extracted material consists of a relatively hydrogen-rich material which is readily converted to valuable liquid products in high yield. The residue from the extraction stage is relatively hydrogen deficient material which can be gasified to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide for the hydroconversion and pretreatment stages, respectively.

What is claimed is:

1. A process for hydroconverting coal to produce a carbonaceous liquid, which comprises: 

a) forming a mixture comprising coal particles, carbon monoxide and water in a pretreatment zone and heating said mixture to ...  cause an increase in the solubility of the coal in organic solvent ... ; 

b) extracting the pretreated coal with an organic solvent in an extraction zone to obtain from said coal an extract, comprising a substantial amount of soluble hydrocarbonaceous materials, and a residue comprising substantially all of the inorganic ash; 

c) forming a mixture comprising said extract and a catalyst, wherein the catalyst is comprised of dispersed particles of a sulfided metal containing compound, said metal being selected from the group consisting of Groups VA, VIA, VIIA and VIIIA of the Periodic Table of Elements and mixtures thereof; and 

d) reacting the mixture of coal extract and catalyst with a hydrogen-containing gas under coal hydroconversion conditions, in a hydroconversion zone to obtain a hydrocarbonaceous liquid. 

2. The process of claim 1, wherein the pretreating of step (a) and extracting of step (b) occur simultaneously by mixing coal, carbon monoxide, water, and an organic solvent in said pretreatment zone. 

3. The process of claim 1, wherein the pretreating of step (a) and the extracting of step (b) are performed sequentially in separate pretreatment and extraction zones. 

4. The process of claim 1, wherein said extract and residue are both reacted in a hydroconversion zone.


9. The process of claim 1, wherein said catalyst is a conversion product of an organic oil-soluble metal compound (and) wherein said compound is molybdenum sulfide.


12. The process of claim 1, wherein the hydrocarbonaceous liquid is fractionated to obtain a liquid product and a solvent. 

13. The process of claim 1, wherein the extract of step (b) is separated from a residue comprising ash-containing coal solids by filtration, sedimentation, cycloning, centrifugation, or settling. 

14. The process of claim 13, wherein the residue is subjected to partial oxidation, whereby carbon monoxide for step (a) is produced and hydrogen for step (d) is produced.


17. The process of claim 1, wherein the coal effluent product from the hydroconversion zone comprises an oil product and a gaseous mixture comprising hydrogen, and wherein, in a separation zone, the gases are removed overhead and thereafter recycled to the hydroconversion zone.


23. The process of claim 1, wherein the coal in step (a) is raw pulverized coal.


26. The process of claim 1, wherein the organic solvent of step (b) comprises a process derived fluid. 

27. The process of claim 26, wherein the organic solvent is derived from hydroconversion step (d).



30. The process of claim 1, wherein the solvent of step (b) is derived from coal ... .


43. The process of claim 1, wherein said hydrogen containing gas of step (d) comprises from about 1 to 10 mole % hydrogen sulfide.

Background: The petroleum industry has long been interested in the production of "synthetic" liquid fuels from non-petroleum solid fossil fuel sources. It is hoped that economic non-petroleum sources of liquid fuel will help the petroleum industry to meet growing energy requirements and decrease dependence on foreign supplies. 

Coal is the most readily available and most abundant solid fossil fuel ... .

The present invention relates to an improved process for converting coal to liquid hydrocarbon products in a catalytic hydroconversion process. The improvement relates to a coal pretreatment stage comprising subjecting the coal to aqueous carbon monoxide under specific pressure and temperature conditions. Such pretreatment enhances solubility in the subsequent coal extraction stage. The reactivity of the coal extract in the subsequent hydroconversion stage is advantageously high.

An object of the present invention is to provide a novel process for the hydroconversion of coal in order to produce valuable liquid hydrocarbonaceous products. 

A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved process for producing liquid hydrocarbonaceous products from coal by utilizing a pretreatment step wherein the coal is subjected to reaction with aqueous carbon monoxide.

The hydrogen-containing gas may be pure hydrogen but will generally be a hydrogen stream containing some other gaseous contaminants, for example, a hydrogen-containing stream produced from the effluent gas in a reforming process."



And, we submit: The "hydrogen-containing stream", immediately above, needed in downstream processing to supplement the initial hydrogenating effects of Carbon Monoxide and Water, could be readily "produced from the effluent gas" arising from a raw Coal liquid Steam "reforming process" similar to those now being practiced in conventional petroleum refineries for the upgrading of heavy crude.

Also, as in Claim 14, above: Coal conversion "residue is subjected to partial oxidation, whereby carbon monoxide for step (a) is produced and hydrogen for step (d) is produced".

That "partial oxidation", we further submit, is, in fact, a Steam-reforming process wherein the "partial oxidation" comprises reactions between Steam, H2O, and some of the Carbon, C, contained in the liquid product being reformed, which generates both the Carbon Monoxide, CO, required in the initial Coal treatment, and the H2 needed for downstream hydrogenation.

That is actually stuff we already know how to do.

It is the kind of stuff we are, under different labels and disguises, already doing with Petroleum.

We are just, for whatever unfathomable and suspect reasons, not yet doing it with Coal.

And, though we don't address the fact herein, this is also stuff that has implications, and provides direction, for the productive utilization of Carbon Dioxide, as can be extracted from flue gasses - which we will explain and document in even additional reports to follow.

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