United States Patent: 4390409

Without linking to any prior reports, we've earlier documented that Big Oil has known, for many, many decades, how to quietly go about liquefying and refining a carbonaceous material that is, except for already being pretty much ground up, wet and sloppy, or, even a semi-solid tar, is, just as is Athabascan tar sand bitumen, very much like Coal.

"Petroleum refinery residuals", or "residual oil", or, often, just "resids" are the heavy carbonaceous leftovers remaining, after the easier-to-process, and thus more profitable, distillates are extracted from crude petroleum.


We're not petroleum engineers, and our concise, perhaps slightly over-simplified, explanation might displease some Big Oil operators who prefer to keep the machinery of their magic behind the curtain, but, that is the gist of it.

Such semi-solid petroleum products, like Coke Oven tars derived from Coal, do have their uses, such as, back when oil was cheap, in things like "creosote" and asphalt.

But, herein, Big Oil and our own US Government confirm that economics have gotten to the point where it's now more profitable to convert those asphaltic "resids" into liquid hydrocarbon fuels, than it is to pressure treat telephone poles, or to pave roads, with them.

And, they also, herein, confirm that, if they can do it with "resids", they can do it with Coal.

Don't, we caution, if you examine the full Disclosure, get lost in the fact that a solid, metals-contaminated residue is produced in the Coal volatilization process. That nasty-sounding residue is combusted to provide heat for the system, especially for generating Steam used in the hydrogenating process, and the metals are recovered from the ash.

Pollution, expense, and wastage, are minimized.

Comment follows excerpts from the initial link to:

"United States Patent 4,390,409 - Co-Processing of Residual Oil and Coal

Date: June, 1983

Inventor: Costandi Audeh, NJ

Assignee: Mobil Oil Corporation, NY

Abstract: Coal and metals-containing residual oil are coprocessed under conditions whereby the coal is volatilized and solubilized, the residual oil is demetallized and substantially no coking of the residual oil occurs. The products obtained include metals-free distillates and metals-containing solid fuel.

Claims: A process for the volatilization and solubilization of coal and the demetallization of residual oil which comprises:

- providing coal ... and a metals containing residual oil ... to a processing zone maintained under conditions effective to volatilize and solubilize said coal, demetallize said residual oil and substantially prevent coking of said residual oil whereby a first volatile hydrocarbon fraction and a first non-volatile residue are produced ...

- separating volatilized hydrocarbon from said first non-volatile residue (and) contacting the first non-volatile residue with superheated steam .... (according to specifications) to provide a second volatile hydrocarbon fraction and a second non-volatile residue (and) metals from said residual oil and (inert) coal residue ...

- fractionally distilling the first and second volatile hydrocarbon fractions to provide normally gaseous hydrocarbons, naphtha, gas oil and a bottoms product having a metals content substantially lower than the residual oil.

(And) including the following additional steps (of) oxidizing the second non-volatile residue in a combustion zone, passing water through the combustion zone in indirect heat exchange relationship thereto to provide the superheated steam and, removing ash comprising metals from the combustion zone. 

A process for the volatilization and solubilization of coal and the demetallization of residual oil ... .

Description and Summary: This invention relates to the co-processing of residual oil and coal. More particularly, it relates to a process for the volatilization and solubilization of coal and the demetallization of residual oil. This invention especially relates to the processing of residual oil and coal to provide metals-free distillates and a metals-containing solid fuel."


Again, according to the full Disclosure, the "metals-containing solid fuel" is utilized within the system to provide process heat; and, the "metals" are then recovered in the ash from that process.

In at least one report to follow, we'll see how such technology is taken a step further, with confirmation of the fact that Coal tar, and Petroleum resid, can both be "fractionated", together, and made thereby to provide, within a total processing system, some liquefaction and hydrogenation solvents that effect the conversion of any elemental Carbon in the system, in the form of Coal or Resids, into more versatile hydrocarbons.

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