EP2014064627 FLEXIBLY OPERABLE POWER PLANT AND METHOD FOR THE OPERATION THEREOF

Best wake up, Coal Country. Time to get off your dead cans, all of America, and time to start digging your way up and out from under the huge pile of Baloney Sandwiches concerning both the dangers of Carbon Dioxide and the inevitable shortages/higher prices of liquid hydrocarbon fuels soon to come that you've let yourselves be buried under by those whose best self interests are not necessarily, actually not at all, coincident with your own, with America's, best interests.

 

Carbon Dioxide, as is co-produced in only a small way, relative to the Earth's all-natural and un-taxable processes of planetary volcanism, by our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of abundant, affordable and reliable electric power, is a valuable raw material resource.

Carbon Dioxide can now be efficiently recovered from the exhaust gases of our Coal combustion processes, and then be economically utilized and consumed as the basic raw material in further processes that synthesize any and all types of both gaseous and liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

We've documented for you many times, of course, that, as seen for only one example in:

CO2 + Iceland = New Kuwait | Research & Development | News; wherein we're told: "Founded in 2006, Carbon Recycling International, Ehf, captures carbon dioxide from industrial emissions and converts carbon dioxide to renewable fuel, including renewable methanol and renewable Di-Methyl-Ether (DME). Other fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, can be derived from these feed stocks. CRI is a venture-backed Icelandic American company with headquarters in Iceland and operations in Iceland";

they are now, in the European nation of Iceland, capturing industrial emissions of Carbon Dioxide, and are using that reclaimed CO2 as the basic raw material for the industrial synthesis of liquid fuels, primarily at this time the fuel alcohol Methanol - from which other fuels, like Gasoline and a substitute for both Diesel and LPG, "Di-Methyl-Ether (DME)", can be derived.

As we've also documented, for example in:

Japan Helps Iceland Convert CO2 into Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels | Research & Development | News; which relates, in part: "Dimethyl Ether Production from Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen; 2010; Abstract: The chemical recycling of carbon dioxide to methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) provides a renewable, carbon-neutral, source for efficient transportation fuels. DME can be used in diesel engine, although some modifications of the engine are required. The Icelandic government has established a long term vision for zero percent hydrocarbon fuel emissions, and has been working to increase the use of renewable energy. So, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is planning to open a DME plant in 2014, in Iceland. A two step process is adopted to produce DME, via methanol, produced from carbon dioxide and hydrogen";  

Japan's well-known and very-major corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, is participating in Iceland's revolutionary CO2-to-Fuel industry, and are, as seen in:

Japan CO2 to Methanol to Gasoline | Research & Development | News; concerning, in part: "United States Patent Application 0130014430 - Method for Generating Electricity and for Producing Gasoline from Methanol and System Therefore; 2013; Inventor: Masaki Iijima, Japan; Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Tokyo; A method for generating electric power and for producing gasoline from methanol, includes the steps of: synthesizing gasoline by reacting methanol under a catalyst; recovering heat generated from the gasoline synthetic reaction of methanol by cooling the reaction with coolant to vaporize the coolant; and generating electric power by using the coolant vapor produced in the heat recovery. The power generation step may include generating electric power with a plurality of steam turbines in series, e.g., a high-pressure turbine, a medium-pressure turbine, and a low-pressure turbine. Claims: A method for generating electric power and for producing gasoline from methanol";

developing their own, sophisticated technologies for not only converting Carbon Dioxide into Methanol, but, for then converting that Methanol into Gasoline, in processes which allow for the co-production of a certain amount of electrical power.

Further, as we saw in our report of:

Europe/Japan Coal Exhaust CO2 to Substitute Natural Gas Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning the international, or "world", patent application: "Title: Methanation Method and Power Plant Comprising CO2 Methanation of Power Plant Flue Gas; Publication Number: WO/2015/004143; Publication Date: January 15, 2015; International Publication Number: PCT/EP2014/064625; Applicants: Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe GMBH (Germany); Inventors: Christian Bergins, et. al., Germany; Abstract: The invention relates to a methanation method comprising the conversion into methane (CH4) of CO2, in particular CO2 gas, originating from, in particular diverted or obtained from, power plant flue gas from a power plant fired with carbon-containing fuel";

Mitsubishi has also developed technology which enables the co-production of electricity in a process which converts the Carbon Dioxide harvested from the flue gas of what we can presume to be a Coal-fired power plant into, not liquid fuels, but, substitute natural gas Methane.  

And, herein, via a patent applications published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, we see that Mitsubishi and their power system partners, Hitachi, have established technology for the conversion of Carbon Dioxide, as collected specifically from the exhaust gas stream of a Coal-fired power plant, into Methanol - and, ultimately, Gasoline - as a byproduct of electricity generation, in a process that maximizes the energy and economic value of the Coal being burned.

Comment, and additional links, are inserted in and follow excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to the very recent:

"Flexibly Operable Power Plant and Method for the Operation Thereof

Publication Number: WO/2015/010895; International Application Number: PCT/EP2014/064627

Publication Date: January 29, 2015; International Filing Date: July 8, 2014

Inventors: Christian Bergins, et. al., Germany

Assignee: Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe GMBH, Germany

Abstract: In a power plant having a large steam generator, which is equipped with hydrocarbon-fired burners and/or with a gas turbine and which has a water/steam circuit connected thereto, and comprising at least one device for generating a CO2-rich gas flow, wherein the electrical power output of the electricity-generating part of the power plant to the electrical grid is subject to power regulation controlled at the power grid side, it is the intention to realize a solution which provides a flexible operating method for the power plant that is fired with hydrocarbon-containing fuel, which operating method permits in particular a rapid adaptation of the power plant output to the power demands from the grid. This is achieved in that the at least one device for generating a CO2-rich gas flow and at least one electrolysis installation for producing hydrogen (H2) and at least one synthesis installation for producing methanol and/or secondary products of methanol from at least CO2 fractions of the CO2-rich gas flow and the hydrogen produced in the electrolysis installation are connected to and interconnected with one another by means of flow-conducting and media-conducting lines such that the electricity generated by the power plant during the operation of the power plant can be utilized entirely or partially selectively for the operation of one, several or all of said group of devices and installations composed of the at least one device for generating a CO2-rich gas flow, the at least one electrolysis installation for producing hydrogen (H2) and the at least one synthesis installation for producing methanol and/or secondary products of methanol.

(Again, the, as above, "secondary products of methanol" would include useful stuff like Gasoline.)

EP2014064627 FLEXIBLY OPERABLE POWER PLANT AND METHOD FOR THE OPERATION THEREOF

Claims: Power Plant ... equipped with carbon-fired burners ... with an attached water/steam cycle (and) with at least one connected generator, in which ... a CO2-containing gas stream is generated, and the at least one device for generating a CO2-rich gas stream comprising (further) that the power plant (and) at least one electrolysis system for the production of hydrogen (H2 ) and at least one synthesis system for the production of methanol and / or methanol derived products from at least CO2-rich gas stream and ... the generated hydrogen ... .

A power plant ... characterized in that the at least one electrolysis system for the production of hydrogen (H2) or more electrolysis plants for the production of hydrogen ... is designed and arranged in such a way adjustable / are that their current (rate) uptake and hydrogen production in response to a line-side power control request to the power plant in the short term, preferably in the range of minutes, up or down is mobile.

(The above is only a part of the full description of how the electrolysis process, to produce Hydrogen, and the Carbon Dioxide extraction system, can be ramped up and down to maximize usage of excess electricity being generated, relative to the demands of the grid, by the power plant. The translation here into English is convoluted, and will be much clearer if and when a US Patent application is published. Basically, at times of low power demand, as the power plant runs at a fairly steady rate, more electrical potential will be available to produce more Hydrogen, collect more CO2, and, thus, to produce more Methanol. It is, in a way, one method to store, as chemical energy, off-peak power, and to, thus, maximize the value of the power plant and of the Coal being consumed.) 

Power plant according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the power plant is constructed as a current sink for the connected public power grid, said at least one electrolysis unit for producing hydrogen (H2) ... and the at least one means for producing a CO2 -rich gas stream ... and the at least one synthesis plant for the production of methanol and / or methanol derivatives (are) designed in total in such a way and are connected to the power grid, that they (can draw) from the power grid surplus power ... .

A method for flexible operation of a power plant according to any one of (the above) claims, characterized in that the at least one device for generating a CO2 -rich gas stream and at least one electrolysis unit for producing hydrogen (H2 ) and the at least one synthesis plant for the production of methanol and/or methanol derived products from at least CO2 ... .

EP2014064627 FLEXIBLY OPERABLE POWER PLANT AND METHOD FOR THE OPERATION THEREOF

The invention is directed to a power plant, which has a fitted with carbon-fired burners ... with (which a) water / steam circuit is connected (and) which is connected (to) the public grid ... . Furthermore, the invention is directed to a method for flexible operation of such a power plant.

(The Disclosure goes on to explain how power plants lose money during periods of off-peak electricity demand, since they still have to keep the steam production circuits running at some minimum level. It also discusses reduction in demand because intermittent renewable, i.e. wind, generators sometimes are able to provide some power to the grid, and, in at least some parts of Europe, the power distributors are compelled by law to buy and use it when it is available. Thus, at times, the Coal-fired power plant will be generating significant amounts of excess power, which can be used for the CO2-to-Methanol process.)

(There) are numerous environmental and technological endeavors (to reduce) CO2 ... emissions. One of these concepts is concerned with the storage of CO2 by the conversion of CO2 into methane gas ... .

Here, the fossil fuel is formed during the combustion CO2 fed from the flue gas and deposited methanation, wherein the artificial natural gas (methane) is formed. The methanation is a chemical reaction, wherein the carbon monoxide (CO) or carbon dioxide (CO2) (is converted to) methane (CH4 ) ... .

(The above is as in our above-cited report concerning Mitsubishi Hitachi's own: "Methanation Method and Power Plant Comprising CO2 Methanation of Power Plant Flue Gas; Publication WO/2015/004143; Publication Date: January 15, 2015; International Publication Number: PCT/EP2014/064625; Applicants: Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe GMBH".)

The reaction of carbon dioxide to methane is also referred to as a Sabatier reaction and was discovered in 1902 by Paul Sabatier.

(With regards to Paul Sabatier and his CO2-to-Methane achievements, see our reports of:

CO2 Solution Wins Nobel Prize - in 1912 | Research & Development; concerning Sabatier's 1912 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, in which he says: "Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both changed immediately into methane, which can therefore be synthesized with the greatest ease"; and:

NASA 2014 CO2 to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,710,106 - Sabatier Process and Apparatus for Controlling Exothermic Reaction; 2014 Inventors: Christian Junaedi, et. al., CT; Assignee: Precision Combustion, Inc., CT; Abstract: A Sabatier process involving contacting carbon dioxide and hydrogen ... so as to produce a product stream comprising water and methane. The first and second catalyst beds each individually comprise an ultra-short-channel-length metal substrate. An apparatus for controlling temperature in an exothermic reaction, such as the Sabatier reaction, is disclosed. Government Support: This invention was made with support from the U.S. government under U.S. Contract No. NNX10CF25P sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The U.S. Government holds certain rights in this invention".)

In (the) context (of saving excess energy) the so-called "power to gas" concept has proved advantageous, in which the energy is converted chemically by methanation and methane (CH4) is stored. Here, (hydrogen is) necessary for the formation of methane (and) hydrogen is in particular (produced by an) Electrolysis produces (which) receives the necessary power from a renewable energy source such as wind turbines or solar cells. (And, the) CO2 ... source is prepared (from) flue gas streams from power plants or industrial plants (utilizing) carbonaceous fuel or carbonaceous feedstocks ... .

The "Power to Gas" concept is a useful method for long-term energy storage and avoidance of immediate CO2 (emissions) since the ... artificially produced natural gas in existing infrastructure (pipelines, natural gas storage) can be stored long term for months. The hydrogen can be prepared by electrolysis. The hydrogen can also originate from other alternative sources.

(As an example of one "alternative source" for Hydrogen, see our report of: 

North Carolina Sunshine Extracts Hydrogen from H2O for USDOE | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent 8,524,903 - Ruthenium or Osmium Complexes and Their Uses as Catalysts for Water Oxidation; 2013; Inventors: Javier Jesus Concepcion Corbea, et. al., North Carolina; Assignee: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Abstract: The present invention provides ruthenium or osmium complexes and their uses as a catalyst for catalytic water oxidation. Another aspect of the invention provides an electrode and photo-electrochemical cells for electrolysis of water molecules. Government Interests: This invention was made, in-part, with United States government support under grants numbered DE-FG02-06ER15788 and DE-SC0001011 from the Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights to this invention. The present invention generally relates to catalysts for water oxidation. 
Hydrogen ... can be obtained by electrolysis of water, which is environmentally friendly and efficient. However, the electrolysis of water is an energy intensive process, which is very expensive. On the other hand, photolysis, the splitting of water by light, presents an attractive alternative method of obtaining hydrogen. Additionally, light driven reduction of carbon dioxide by water to provide hydrocarbons or methanol may be another promising alternative to alternate energy sources. For both types of reactions, coupled water oxidation to oxygen is required. In order to facilitate the photolysis of water by light in either type of reaction, a catalyst is required for the reaction. Therefore, there is a need in the industry for an efficient catalyst for the electrolysis or photo electrolysis of water to obtain hydrogen or water reduction of carbon dioxide to obtain affordable and sustainable alternative source of energy";

wherein the USDOE hired the University of North Carolina to develop a catalytic system that enables the extraction of Hydrogen from H2O in a process powered only by sunlight, and which Hydrogen is conceptualized to be used specifically in a Carbon Dioxide utilization process like that being disclosed herein by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe GMBH.)

The CO2 can (come) from a CO2-rich stream, such as the flue gas stream of a power plant ... .

The components obtained in this manner, H2 and CO2, are in a methanation or methanator by synthesis to H2O and CH4 converted.

The invention has for its object to provide a solution that provides a flexible driving or operation of a carbonaceous fuel-fired power plant and in particular allows for timely adjustment of power output at line-side power requirements.

(All of this, really, will be a lot easier to read and understand when the US Patent Application version of it is finally published. We assume there will be one.)

This object is achieved according to the invention by a power plant with the ... at least one electrolysis plant for the production of hydrogen and at least one Synthesis plant for the production of methanol and / or methanol derived products from at least CO2 ... and the hydrogen produced in the electrolysis system ...  and the at least one synthesis plant for the production of methanol and/or methanol derivatives ... .

The invention is in a first aspect assumes a coal ... power plant through the integration of ... a CO2 capture, a hydrogen-producing electrolysis and chemical synthesis for the production of methanol and / or Methanol derivatives such as dimethyl ether (DME), or gasoline ... .

Under flexibility is to be understood here is that of the power plant next to the product stream and network services, such as the primary control and secondary control, other products such as methanol, DME, gasoline or other raw materials for the chemical and petrochemical industries, or transportation (regularly) are generated.

The invention comprises power plants whose carbon-fired burners are operated with carbonaceous biogenic raw materials: coal, brown coal, carbonaceous wastes from industry ... The invention is applicable also to the exhaust gases of cement kilns, and other plants of the paper industry

Combustion processes, as long as in the corresponding system / device, a downstream steam generation and the steam turbine is to use at least a portion of the waste heat to generate electricity.

This results in the ability in power plant operation to achieve a higher annual usage life of the plant, and (again) to be achieved by expanding the product range (production of methanol or methanol derivatives) is also a profitable operation.

The invention is based on the idea of ​​storing the excess electricity produced in the form of methanol or methanol derived products outside the electricity network and the steam cycle in the chemical energy of the substances and subsequently used in an appropriate manner in the power plant or outside for other purposes. The flexibility of the power plant is thus the one hand, achieved through a flexible product. This means that the power plant is aligned not only with regard to the production of the product "power", but is also focused on the production of products "methanol and / or methanol derivatives". Here, the power plant is also designed so that it can be flexibly varied between the amount of electricity produced each and methanol or its derivatives.

(It) should also be provided that the power plant (can be operated) with surplus power from the connected power network ... . The power plant according to the invention is therefore ... also characterized in that the power plant (can serve) as a current sink for the connected public grid ..., wherein the at least one electrolysis plant for the production of hydrogen (H2 ) ... and the at least one device for generating a CO2 rich gas stream ... and the at least one synthesis plant for the production of methanol and / or methanol derivatives ... connected to the mains that they can be operated with ... the mains supply surplus power.

In the proposed invention flexibility of the power plant, it may also be beneficial and useful to (use) heat generated within the power plant ... .

(The translation at this point goes on to explain how power plant waste heat, most often disposed of via cooling towers, can be productively employed in the H2 generating and CO2 harvesting and Methanol synthesis operations. We've discussed the use of power plant waste heat previously in those regards, and might make further report in the future.)

The method can be combined with newly constructed thermal power plants, or as an extension to be retrofitted to existing power plants.

Necessary heat for the operation of parts of the plant such as the desorption of the PCC process or possibly optional downstream rectification or distillation of the products can be removed from the reaction heat from the reactors (methanol production or conversion) ... .

(In the above, and in passages following, we have further confirmation that the hydrocarbon synthesis reactions are exothermic, as they are in the above-cited NASA invention of "US Patent 8,710,106 - Sabatier Process and Apparatus for Controlling Exothermic Reaction", and, that the heat can be removed for use in driving other processes.)

Accumulated water from the cooling of products or intermediates should preferably be fed back to the hydrogen electrolysis after any necessary purification. The purification may be preferable in the feed water treatment plants for the power plant and / or in a specially designed water treatment.

(Byproduct) oxygen (from the water electrolysis) can be partially or completely (used to) support to the firing of the power plant to increase boiler efficiency (or, it can be marketed).

In the methanol synthesis reactor, the supplied CO2 ... with hydrogen (is) converted to methanol.

The (system can) be designed such that up to 95% of the carbon dioxide (in) the flue gas is (directed) to the production of methanol (and/) secondary products.

Finally, it can also be provided that a part of the reaction products generated in particular by the synthesis unit, that is methanol or a ... methanol derivative product (is) temporarily supplied as a start-up fuel ... .

The invention is characterized by low investment costs for retrofitting existing power plants, increasing the efficiency of existing systems ... . Even in new buildings, the solution of the invention is an improvement of flexibility, asset utilization and time efficiency".

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We'll close our overlong and no doubt, in places, almost indecipherable excerpts there.

In sum, Mitsubishi Hitachi have disclosed how Coal-fired power plant exhaust Carbon Dioxide can be converted into Methanol, in a complex design that maximizes the value of the Coal being burned by directing the produced energy to, as demand warrants, and as controlled by a sophisticated measurement and feedback system, either to supplying electricity to the grid or to the synthesis of Methanol via the harvesting of Carbon Dioxide from flue gas and the extraction of Hydrogen from water.

We'll make further report of "Flexibly Operable Power Plant and Method for the Operation Thereof" when it is, as we assume it will eventually be, republished as a United States Patent Application. However, note, again, in the above excerpts consistent mention of "methanol derivative product", or similar - which "product" would be, as in our above-cited report concerning Mitsubishi's own  "United States Patent Application 0130014430 - Method for Generating Electricity and for Producing Gasoline from Methanol and System Therefore; 2013; Inventor: Masaki Iijima, Japan; Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd", Gasoline, again with electricity as a co-product.

We opened this over-long dissertation with the admonition: "Best wake up, Coal Country".

Given that we can continue to generate abundant, affordable, and reliable electricity from Coal, and, then, maximize the already-great value of that electricity by efficiently synthesizing, from the co-product Carbon Dioxide, stuff like fuel alcohol Methanol and, even, Gasoline, it's time we all did.


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