United States Patent: 7909979

As seen in many of our previous reports, including, for just two examples:

USDOE Synthetic Fuels from Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20100205856A1 - Synthetic Fuels from Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide; 2010; Assignee: Los Alamos National Security, LLC; This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Abstract: The present invention is directed to providing a method of producing synthetic fuels and organic chemicals from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide gas is extracted from the atmosphere, hydrogen gas is obtained by splitting water, a mixture of the carbon dioxide gas and the hydrogen gas (synthesis gas) is generated, and the synthesis gas is converted into synthetic fuels and/or organic products"; and:

 

 

WVU Hydrogenates Coal Tar | Research & Development; concerning the thesis: "Hydrogenation of Naphthalene and Coal Tar Distillate; Abhijit Bhagavatula; West Virginia University; 2009; Abstract: The hydrogenation of naphthalene and coal-tar distillates has been carried out in a Trickle Bed Reactor, in which the liquid is allowed to flow through the catalyst bed in the presence of hydrogen (in order to form) the hydrogenated product, tetralin (which can be used for the direct) conversion of coal to refinable crude hydrocarbons, from which liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc., can be produced";

elemental, molecular Hydrogen, H2, can be some pretty nifty stuff to have in one's possession, if one has any interest at all in breaking the chains of economic enslavement that bind us all to OPEC and Big Oil; and, in freeing King Coal from the specious charges made by poorly-guided and mis-informed environmentalists.

There are numerous ways, as we've documented over the past several years, to hydrogenate both Coal and Carbon Dioxide, and to thereby convert them both into commercially-valuable, and needed, liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.

However, in some of the apparently more-efficient means of doing so, especially if it is desired to avoid the co-generation of "oxygenated" hydrocarbons, i.e., alcohols such as Methanol and Ethanol, as opposed to plain hydrocarbons that can be used directly in, for instance, the blending of Gasoline and Diesel fuels, it is advantageous to, as in our above-cited "US Patent Application 20100205856A1 - Synthetic Fuels from Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" and "Hydrogenation of Naphthalene and Coal Tar Distillate", utilize free, elemental Hydrogen, rather than Water or Steam, H2O, as the Hydrogen source in the hydrogenation reactions.

 

And, herein, from Japan, we submit two closely-related and US-patented techniques, similar in theme to others we have previously documented, for utilizing the freely-available power of Solar radiation to effect the "splitting" of plain Water, H2O, to obtain molecular Hydrogen.

Comment, and additional links, follows excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"United States Patent 7,909,979 - Water Photolysis System and Process

Date: March, 2011

Inventor: Yuka Yamada, et. al., Japan

Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka

Abstract: The present invention provides a water photolysis system comprising: a casing into which incident sunlight can enter from the outside and a photolytic layer which is disposed inside the casing; wherein the photolytic layer has a light-transmissive porous material and photocatalyst particles supported thereon; a water layer containing water in its liquid state is disposed below the photolytic layer with a first space disposed between the water layer and the photolytic layer; a sealed second space is formed above the photolytic layer in the casing; vapor generated from the water ... is introduced into the photolytic layer via the first space; and the vapor is decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen by the photocatalyst particles, which are excited by the sunlight.

Claims: A process for photolyzing water comprising the steps of: placing a photolytic layer provided with a light-transmissive porous material and a photocatalyst supported on the porous material on a water layer containing water in its liquid state with a first space layer filled with air therebetween; shining light onto the photolytic layer; and separating vapor generated from the water layer into hydrogen and oxygen by the photocatalyst, which is excited by the incident light ... ."

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We'll keep our excerpts relatively brief since we have a bit more ground to cover, and, since some of the technicalities involved are beyond our limited capacities to competently discuss. However, we will note that the full disclosure stipulates that one of the catalysts needed is Titanium Oxide, which isn't an exotic or expensive material; and, which is specified in other, similar technologies we have previously cited for you.

Speaking of similar technologies, we remind you of one of our earlier reports, as accessible via:

NASA Hydrogen from Water and Sunlight | Research & Development; which concerns our own, home-grown: "United States Patent 4,045,315 - Solar Photolysis of Water; 1977; NASA; Abstract: Hydrogen is produced by the solar photolysis of water in a first photo-oxidation vessel with a transparent wall in the presence of a water soluble photo-oxidizable reagent and an insoluble hydrogen recombination catalyst. Simultaneously oxygen is produced in a second photo-reduction reactor with a transparent wall in the presence of an insoluble photo-reduction reagent catalyst";

which, though a bit more complex, sounds very much in theme like our initial, three decades more recent subject, "United States Patent 7,909,979".

And, that later Japanese development might well have been founded not just on the NASA Hydrogen production technology, but, as well, on another one, similar, that was developed in the time between the respective issuances of US Patents 7,909,979 and 4,045,315, by what appears to be an arm of the Japanese government itself, as seen in:

"United States Patent: 5262023 - Method for Producing Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water

Date: November, 1993

Inventor: Kazuhiro Sayama and Hironori Arakawa, Japan

Assignee: Director-General of Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, Tokyo

Abstract: There is disclosed a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water, which comprises bringing an aqueous solution of carbonate into contact with a semiconductor carrying a metal or a metal compound and irradiating the aqueous solution with light.

Claims: A method for producing hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water, which comprises bringing an aqueous solution of carbonate having a pH greater than 8 into contact with a semiconductor carrying a metal or a metal compound and irradiating the aqueous solution. 

The method ... wherein the semiconductor is selected from the group consisting of TiO2, (and others).

(Again, note specification of Titanium Oxide, or, more properly, Dioxide.)

(And) wherein the semiconductor is in a form of powder, pellet or membrane.

(And) wherein the carbonate is sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate. 

(And) wherein the carbonate solution is a saturated carbonate solution.

(We have, by the way, documented for you in previous reports that "sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate" are among the compounds we can manufacture by scrubbing the CO2 out of an exhaust gas stream, or even, as documented within our post:

US Navy and Columbia University Recycle Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development; which includes separate report of: "United States Patent: 7833328 - Scrubber for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from Air; 2010; IAssignee: Columbia University; Abstract: The present invention is directed to methods for carbon dioxide from air (and, a) scrubber apparatus for capturing carbon dioxide from open air (which utilizes) a hydroxide solution";

out of the atmosphere itself, with a water solution of potassium or sodium hydroxide. So, thus, a product arising from our capture of Carbon Dioxide might assist, as herein, in the more efficient generation of Hydrogen for the hydrogenation of both Coal and Carbon Dioxide.)

(And) wherein the light having a wavelength of ultraviolet region is radiated. 

(And) wherein the reaction is carried out under reduced pressure.

Background and Field: The present invention relates to a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen effectively from water by using light energy. 

More particularly, the present invention relates to a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen from water which comprises bringing an aqueous solution of carbonate into contact with a semiconductor carrying a metal or a metal compound and irradiating the aqueous solution with light.

 

An object of the present invention is to provide a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water in which the conversion efficiency of light energy is high ... .

Another object of the present invention is to provide a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water in which the catalyst is stable and is not deteriorated for a long period of time, and the preparation of the catalyst and the reaction conditions are simple. 

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method for producing hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water in which the reaction is reproducible, the reaction proceeds catalytically, and no harmful or toxic substance is involved in the reaction."

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Thus, using, basically, sunlight, and, inexpensive and readily-available mineral compounds, we can produce both "hydrogen and oxygen photocatalytically from water".

And, since we've already emphasized, via the references in our opening comments, the value of the elemental Hydrogen in the recycling of Carbon Dioxide and the liquefaction of Coal, allow us to point out that the by-product Oxygen has some interesting uses as well.

For instance, as seen in:

USDOE Hydrogasifies Coal, Recycles Carbon | Research & Development; concerning the: "United States Patent 3,988,123 - Gasification of Carbonaceous Solids; 1976; Assignee: The United States of America;

Abstract: A process and apparatus for converting coal and other carbonaceous solids to an intermediate heating value fuel gas or to a synthesis gas. A stream of entrained pulverized coal is fed into the combustion stage of a three-stage gasifier along with a mixture of oxygen and steam";

Oxygen can be utilized to support the partial combustion of Coal, and the hot Coal's reaction with Steam, to, without the co-production of unwanted Nitrogen Oxides which would arise if plain air were instead to be employed, generate a rather pure blend of Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide "synthesis gas" well-suited compositionally for Fischer-Tropsch, and related, catalytic condensation into various hydrocarbons.

Even further, Oxygen, co-generated by our subject Japanese processes for the production of, primarily, Hydrogen, can be utilized in a process such as that disclosed in our report of:

Germany Gasifies Coal with CO2 and H2O | Research & Development; which concerns: "United States Patent 4,347,064 - Process of Gasifying Fine-Grained Solid Fuels; 1982; Assignee: Metallgesellschaft AG, Frankfurt am Main (Germany); Abstract: A process of gasifying fine-grained solid fuels for the production of a product gas that contains hydrogen, carbon oxides and methane comprises a treatment with steam, oxygen and/or carbon dioxide ... (and) wherein the product gas is used ... as a synthesis gas (and, wherein the solid)  fuels ... include particularly coal";

to support the exothermic oxidation of Coal in a gasification process wherein Carbon Dioxide, recovered from whatever source, can be included in the mix of gasification agents to thereby increase the amount of Carbon Monoxide generated in the resulting hydrocarbon "synthesis gas", through chemical reduction reactions with hot Carbon.

Further, and again, the use of purified Oxygen, as co-produced with Hydrogen in our subject processes of US Patents 5,262,023 and 7,909,979, would, as well, forestall the co-generation of unwanted Nitrogen Oxides, and conserve energy, if used, instead of unpurified air, in Coal gasification processes such as, and similar to, those described in US Patents 3,988,123 and 4,347,064.


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