United States Patent: 4218388

Devised by scientists in the Netherlands, rights to the enclosed technology, wherein both high-octane Gasoline and Liquid Petroleum Gas can be synthesized, concurrently, from Coal, are owned by the Shell Oil Company, as headquartered in Texas.

Much of the full Disclosure is related to lengthy exposition concerning the minutiae of catalysis; and, the sheer volume of that technical verbiage might obscure for the casual reader what the technology is all about.

Some advance excerpts thus seem in order to help keep a full examination focused; and, we submit:

From the "Claims" section, statement that this is: "A process for preparing liquid hydrocarbons from coal".

From the "Background", more confirmation that, not only is this invention, again, "a process for preparing liquid hydrocarbons from coal", but, also, "that gasoline having a high octane number can be prepared from coal".

Finally, from the "Summary", additional confirmation that this is a process for making hydrocarbons via "the reaction of the coal with ... steam".

You will have to read closely to discover that "light hydrocarbons (such as) butane or LPG ... may be obtained as by-products of the process".

Our take on it is that some of those "light hydrocarbons" are recycled back into the process, in a fashion similar to others we have documented for you, wherein Methane, as can, for instance, as an aside, be synthesized via the Sabatier process from Carbon Dioxide, is blended into Coal-derived synthesis gas to improve the mix, prior to catalytic condensation of the combined gases into liquid hydrocarbons.


Additional comment concerning those "light hydrocarbons" follows more extended excerpts from:


"United States Patent 4,218,388 - Preparing Hydrocarbons from Gasification of Coal


Date: August, 1980


Inventors: Lambert Schaper, et. al., the Netherlands


Assignee: Shell Oil Company, Houston

Abstract: Synthesis gas is converted into gasoline by contacting the gas with a crystalline aluminosilicate zeolite catalyst, the process being characterized by conversion of by-product isobutane into gasoline by alkylation.

Claims: A process for preparing liquid hydrocarbons from coal, comprising: converting coal into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by gasification at a temperature between 1050C and 2000C.; converting the mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into an aromatic hydrocarbon mixture in the presence of a catalyst which contains a crystalline aluminosilicate zeolite ...; separating from the aromatic hydrocarbon mixture an isobutane-containing gaseous fraction and an aromatic liquid fraction boiling in the gasoline range ... .

Background: The invention relates to a process for preparing liquid hydrocarbons from coal.

In view of the increasing need of gasoline and the decreasing reserves of mineral oil there is a great interest in processes having the potentialities of converting carbon-containing materials not based on mineral oil, such as coal, in an economically justified way into hydrocarbon mixtures boiling in the gasoline range.

It is known that carbon-containing materials, such as coal, can be converted into mixtures of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by gasification. It is further known that mixtures of carbon monoxide and hydrogen can be converted into mixtures of hydrocarbons by contacting the gas mixtures with suitable catalysts.

In the first step of the process according to the invention, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is prepared by gasification of coal at a temperature between 1050 and 2000C. As a result of the use of this high temperature, the synthesis gas prepared contains very little methane, if any at all. In comparison with a process in which in the first step a lower temperature is used ... .

(The) process according to (this) invention gives a higher yield of CO and H2 per ton of coal and a higher gasoline yield per ton of coal.

Because of the use of a gasification temperature (as specified) the product contains very small amounts of non-gaseous by-products such as tar, phenols and condensable hydrocarbons, if any at all.

(Which) also leads to a higher yield of CO and H2, and therefore to a higher gasoline yield than when a lower temperature is used in the gasification step. In addition, no provisions have to be made to remove tar, phenols and condensable hydrocarbons from the synthesis gas, which will promote the economy of the gasoline preparation."


In effect, Shell are describing a higher-temperature Coal gasification process, wherein the higher temperatures result in a more complete breakdown of the mixed raw materials - Coal, Steam, and some of the LPG-type gases recycled from the system - into the desired Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen, which are thus produced in relative quantities better-suited to catalytic condensation into liquid hydrocarbons.

And, there are no carbonaceous residues. None of Coal's content of Carbon is wasted.

All of which, as above, serves to "promote the economy of the gasoline preparation" from Coal.

We note that, in Shell's full Disclosure, extensive discussion is devoted to the range of zeolite mineral catalysts which can be used in their process for converting Coal-derived synthesis gas into Gasoline; including, as we read it, the "ZSM-5" type, which we believe to be specified by ExxonMobil in their "MTG"(r), methanol-to-gasoline, technology; wherein the Methanol is posited to be made from Coal.

And, we refer to our introductory notes concerning the "isobutane-containing gaseous fraction" which is recovered, from this conversion of Coal, along with "an aromatic liquid fraction boiling in the gasoline range".

Via separate dispatch today, we are sending along report of: "United States Patent: 5614163 - Process for Making Synthesis Gas; 1997; Amoco Corporation", wherein is disclosed a technology whereby such gaseous compounds, produced herein as a by-product of Coal conversion to Gasoline, can be reacted with Carbon Dioxide and made thereby to generate even more hydrocarbon synthesis gas.

Finally, in sum, we have herein yet another process, another improvement on the technology, for, as yet another major component of the petroleum industry puts it: "obtaining a higher gasoline yield per ton of coal".

How "high" does the yield have to get, we must ask - and, just how ancient do three decades-old technologies like this have to become - before we residents of US Coal Country will be privileged to even just hear about them, much less to put them to work to free us from OPEC economic tyranny?

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