Process for the treatment of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures - Patent Application 20050169835

 

This will be a rather complicated submission, and we regret the complexities inherent in our presentation.

First of all, the initial link in this dispatch connects to a US Patent Application for a Carbon Dioxide recycling technology submitted by the company: "Total, S.A.".

"Total" is likely an unfamiliar name to most of our readers; and, we won't address their CO2 recycling process until later in this dispatch.

However, for more information concerning the company, Total, we refer you, once again, to the seemingly-omniscient Wikipedia, as in: Total S.A. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; wherein we learn that:

"Total S.A. is a French multinational oil company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world. Its businesses cover the entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural gas exploration and production to power generation, transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and international crude oil and product trading. Total is also a large-scale chemicals manufacturer. The company has its head office ... near Paris."

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In any case, this "multinational" and "Supermajor oil" company is exercising it's role as " a large-scale chemicals manufacturer" in China, where, as the two following links reveal, it is making chemicals, including liquid fuels, from Coal.

 

The following links, and excerpts, provide more insight into that Chinese French Connection:

 

China's coal-to-chemicals sector emerging in 2011 to impact petrochemical and energy markets

 

"The surprise in 2011 could be the silently emerging sector of coal-to-chemicals, impacting the petrochemical and energy commodity graphs in the long run. China needs to import one-third of its crude requirement, and shifting to coal in the petrochemical sector is a much needed alternative. The rising price of crude oil has rendered coal a favorite alternative to polyolefins, which is in short supply in China.

The latest developments in China have seen the production of coal-to-liquids, coal-to-dimethyl ether, coal-to-olefins and coal to SNG in 2010. The Chinese coal chemical industry is backed by intense government interest, with new generation technology from Western multinationals. Three companies-Total Petrochemicals, Celanese, and Dow Chemical - are advancing their cutting edge technology in coal chemicals to China, lured by the country's ample supply of coal.

China's major coal-based chemical projects started trial operations in August 2010, spearheaded by the Shenhua Group. Methanol was fed at coal giant Shenhua Baotou's 600,000 tpa methanol-to-olefins plant in Inner Mongolia. The unit can produce 300,000 tpa each of ethylene and propylene. The Datong Coal Mine Group plans to target new energy-petrochemical development with a 450,000 tpa methanol-to-propylene and PP project."

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First, we remind you without linkage that we have previously and separately reported on the Coal conversion activities and expertise of both Celanese and Dow, as named above, and noted their involvement in China. We also remind you that Dow's Coal conversion expertise likely arises from their acquisition of the old Union Carbide Corporation, who, as we have many times documented, operated a Coal liquefaction factory in South Charleston, WV, for a number of years.

Immediately following is yet more evidence of the importance China places on it's Coal conversion industry:

 

gulfnews : Chinese economy to be fired by coal-to-chemicals

 

"China is obsessed with setting the pace for the world to follow. ... The world economy will rest on policy makers of China and the surprise this year could be the silently emerging sector of coal-to-chemicals. This could in all probability affect the petrochemical and energy commodity graphs in the long run.

Coal to chemicals uses coal as raw material instead of crude oil, and requires new-generation technology to turn it into gas, liquids, solid fuels and other chemical products.

The latest developments in China have seen the production of coal-to-liquids, coal-to-dimethyl ether, coal-to-olefins and coal to SNG throughout 2010.

("SNG" = "Substitute", or "Synthetic" Natural Gas.)

The Chinese coal chemical industry has a massive head-start. It is backed by intense government interest, laps up new generation technology from Western multinationals and promotes an entirely new usage pattern for coal.

The rising price of crude oil has rendered coal a favorite alternative to polyolefins, which is in short supply in China (and) shifting to coal in the petrochemical sector is a much needed alternative.

From the cost perspective, coal to chemicals enjoys an obvious advantage as oil is four times as expensive as coal. Developing coal to chemicals is an inevitable choice in China, a nation characterized by "insufficient oil, little gas and ample coal"."

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Having demonstrated the importance of Coal conversion technology both to China, and to the "supermajor" oil company, Total", it is also interesting to discover that Total doesn't plan on converting just Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals.

As in the opening link in this dispatch: Process for the treatment of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures - Patent Application 20050169835, they plan to do the same thing with Carbon Dioxide, as well.

We disclose what we take to be intriguing developments following excerpts from that link to, and the attached file of:

 

"United States Patent Application 20050169835 - The Treatment of Methane/Carbon Dioxide Mixtures

 

Publication Date: August, 2005

 

Inventors: Sabine Savin-poncet, et. al., France

 

Assignee: TOTAL France and TOTAL S.A.

 

Abstract: A process for the conversion of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures to a carbon monoxide/hydrogen mixture is provided in which use is made of a catalyst with a support comprising silicon carbide.

Claims: Process for the conversion of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures to a carbon monoxide/hydrogen mixture, wherein use is made of a catalyst comprising a support comprising more than 50% by weight of silicon carbide in the beta form.

Field: The present invention relates to a process for the conversion of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures, substantially in the absence of oxygen, to synthesis gas H2 /CO.

Prior Art: The industrial conversion of methane to synthesis gas by oxidation with oxygen over steam is well known ... . On the other hand, the oxidation of methane by CO2 ... is more problematic to carry out. This is because this process, which is highly endothermic, generally cogenerates soot and coke deposits, which are difficult to control. One way of combating the formation of carbon consists in introducing steam into the gaseous feedstock, which has the effect both of increasing the H2 /CO ratio ... .

(We remind you that, in our previous reports of Swiss and Israeli Carbon Dioxide "tri-reforming", the problem of Carbon deposition on catalyst surfaces was noted, and dealt with in the same way, by: "introducing steam into the gaseous feedstock".)

The simultaneous addition of steam and of oxygen to the gaseous feedstock (can help in) consuming significant amounts of CO2.

Summary: The invention ... provides a process for the conversion of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures to a carbon monoxide/hydrogen mixture, characterized in that use is made of a catalyst comprising a support comprising silicon carbide in the beta form.

According to one embodiment, the process is carried out on an oil field with a CO2-rich natural gas."

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Again, note is made of the dirty little secret left unmentioned by the outspoken proponents of "America's Clean Energy Alternative", Natural Gas:

As it comes from the ground, Natural Gas is most often already contaminated with a sometimes surprisingly large percentage of Carbon Dioxide. If the amount of CO2 entrained in the natural gas is so great that it interferes with combustion qualities of that gas, then the gas producers routinely strip that CO2 from the gas in their processing facilities, and then vent it to the atmosphere.

In any case, this "supermajor" French petroleum company would certainly have known that the 1912 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Frenchman Paul Sabatier, for demonstrating that the Methane, needed in their process to convert Carbon Dioxide into a hydrocarbon synthesis gas, could itself be synthesized from Carbon Dioxide.

Finally, we must divulge that the enclosed patent application is no longer available on our United States Government's official Patent and Trademark Office web site. The link we provide is to a private web-based patent resource.

Excuse is offered that the company Total did not respond to an inquiry concerning technicalities of the application.

Baloney. One of the six largest petroleum companies in the world didn't submit a patent application to the United States Government that they weren't able, and willing, to defend and explain on technical grounds.

One valid objection that could have been made, however, is that Total's technology is not innovative enough.

Presuming you to have followed our posts, you will know that, as in our report, for just one example out of several, of : 1941 CO2 + Methane = Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 2,243,869 - Method of Synthesizing Liquid Hydrocarbons; June, 1941; Assignee: M.W. Kellogg Company, NY", wherein is disclosed a process for "the oxidation of methane to form mixtures of carbon monoxide and hydrogen and the synthesis of the synthesis gas thus formed into liquid hydrocarbons ... (and, wherein)  ... only steam and carbon dioxide (need be) employed for converting methane into synthesis gas", the technology for reacting Carbon Dioxide with Methane, and/or Steam, to generate a synthesis gas suitable for catalytic condensation, through long-known technologies such as the Fischer-Tropsch process, into liquid hydrocarbons, might not be innovative, or inventive, enough to qualify for award of a US Patent.

We'll see.

In any case, we have herein, via Process for the treatment of methane/carbon dioxide mixtures - Patent Application 20050169835; yet further confirmation of the fact, that:

Carbon Dioxide, as arises in only a small way, relative to natural sources of emission, such as volcanoes, from our varied and productive uses of Coal, is a valuable raw material resource.

We can synthesize liquid hydrocarbon fuels out of nothing but Carbon Dioxide and H2O, with Methane being first synthesized from Carbon Dioxide via the century-old Sabatier technique now being, as we've reported, further developed by NASA to synthesize rocket fuel, from Carbon Dioxide, on the planet Mars.

We also remind you, without citing any of our several reports attesting to the fact, that any needed Methane can also be synthesized, as in the above-noted Chinese production of "SNG",  via the Steam-, or Hydro-, gasification of Coal.


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