United States Patent: 8696883

Happy Tax Day!

Are you citizens of US Coal Country ready to start paying Cap and Trade Carbon taxes to Uncle Sam, on top of the income taxes you paid today, April 15, for the privilege of getting your sorry tails out of bed each and every day and heading off to work in the mines, fields, factories and forests?

Why?

 

Have you become so resigned to the fact that Carbon Dioxide - - as it arises in only a very small way, relative to some all-natural and un-taxable sources of it's emission, such as the Earth's inexorable processes of planetary volcanism, from our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of truly abundant, truly reliable, and truly affordable electric power - - is a heinous global warming culprit, and that we must, somehow, be punished, "fined" for want of a better term, for co-producing CO2 along with electricity at our crucial Coal-fired power plants? 

Again, why?

Keep in mind that, even though no one in a position to do so has yet scraped together the courage and the charity, the patriotism, to tell you, genuine patriots in the employ of our United States Government have been trying to get a simple, straightforward message to us all, which is:

Carbon Dioxide is a valuable raw material resource from which, in some cases using freely-available environmental energy to drive the processes, we can synthesize such seemingly-needful things as fuel alcohol Methanol, synthetic Petroleum, Gasoline and substitute, fracking-free natural gas Methane.

When we say "genuine patriots in the employ of our United States Government", we're referring to folks like the dedicated scientists working at the United States Navy's Naval Research Laboratory, who have developed for us technology like that seen, for just one out of many related examples, in our report of:

US Navy Awarded September, 2011, CO2 Recycling Patent | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,017,658 - Synthesis of Hydrocarbons via Catalytic Reduction of CO2; September 13, 2011; Inventors:Nick Tran, Dennis Hardy, et. al., DC and VA; Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy";

wherein Carbon Dioxide can be efficiently converted into synthetic hydrocarbon fuels; and, we're referring as well to the US Navy scientists' colleagues in the United States Air Force, who, as seen recently in:

US Air Force April 3, 2014, CO2 to Synthetic Fuels | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20140093799 - Devices and Processes for Carbon Dioxide Conversion into Useful Fuels and Chemicals; April 3, 2014; Inventors: Richard Masel, IL, Brian Rosen, DE, Wei Zhu, IL; Abstract: Electrochemical devices for converting carbon dioxide to useful reaction products include a solid or a liquid with a specific pH and/or water content. Chemical processes using the devices are also disclosed, including processes to produce ... CH3OH (Methanol), CH4 (Methane), ... and synthetic fuels. Government Interests: This invention was made, at least in part, with U.S. government support under U.S. Air Force contract No. FA8650-12-M-2249. The government has certain rights in the invention";

have been financing and supervising the development of related CO2-to-"synthetic fuels" technology. And, by "genuine patriots in the employ of our United States Government", we're also referring to the dedicated and astute employees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who have at times chosen specific days of some significance to try and alert us all of developments that could, if we don't wake up and smell the coffee, have dire financial consequences for the United States of America; as seen most recently in our report of:

Saudi Arabia 4th of July CO2 to Hydrocarbons | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130168966 - Method for Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Hydrocarbons; Date: July 4, 2013; Inventors: Mazen Abdullah Ba-Abbad, et. al., Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Assignee: King Saud University, Riyadh";

wherein the US Patent and Trademark Office elected to publish on Independence Day information concerning the fact that Saudi Arabia, the crown jewel of OPEC, is developing the technology that will enable them to convert Carbon Dioxide, recovered from whatever source, into synthetic hydrocarbon fuels.

We learn herein that our US Patent and Trademark Office has elected another day of significance, one of somewhat sad auspice for many, to publish even more information that all United States citizens - - whether miners of Coal, environmentalists dead-set against Coal and/or against shale gas extraction, or just anyone and everyone sick of OPEC economic enslavement - - should take extra special notice of.

First, we remind you that we have many times documented the extraordinary and extraordinarily extensive technology that has been developed by Japan's, once well-known in the US, Panasonic Corporation, whereby, in processes most often specified to be driven by solar energy, in what are termed by some as "artificial photosynthesis" technologies, Carbon Dioxide can be converted into a diverse collection of hydrocarbon, and carbon-containing, compounds, most often typified by synthetic natural gas Methane.

Our past reports concerning Panasonic's startling array of CO2-recycling technologies have included, for only a few examples:

Japan Converts CO2 into Lower-Cost Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20120018311 - Carbon Dioxide Reduction Method; 2012; Inventors: Satoshi Yotsuhashi, et. al., Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: The carbon dioxide reduction method of the present invention is a method including steps of: bringing an electrode (working electrode) containing a carbide of at least one element selected from Group V elements (vanadium, niobium, and tantalum) into contact with an electrolytic solution; and introducing carbon dioxide into the electrolytic solution to reduce the introduced carbon dioxide by the electrode. The material contained in the electrode, that is, the material containing a carbide of at least one element selected from Group V elements (vanadium, niobium, and tantalum) is the carbon dioxide reduction catalyst of the present invention. (The) method and the device of the present invention achieve reduction of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, formic acid, methane, etc. and provide these substances with less energy and at lower cost. Furthermore, the catalyst of the present invention achieves reduction of carbon dioxide in a solution, has high durability, and achieves reduction of carbon dioxide at an overvoltage equal to or lower than the overvoltages for the reduction by conventional carbon dioxide reduction catalysts"; and:

Panasonic Solar Energy Converts More CO2 into Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,617,375 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; December 31, 2013; Inventors: Yugi Zenitani, Masahiro Deguchi, Satoshi Yotsuhashi, Reiko Taniguchi, Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: The method for reducing carbon dioxide of the present invention includes a step (a) and a step (b) as follows. A step (a) of preparing an electrochemical cell. The electrochemical cell comprises a working electrode, a counter electrode and a vessel. The vessel stores an electrolytic solution. The working electrode contains boron carbide. The electrolytic solution contains carbon dioxide. The working electrode and the counter electrode are in contact with the electrolytic solution. A step (b) of applying a negative voltage and a positive voltage to the working electrode and the counter electrode, respectively, to reduce the carbon dioxide. A carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction technique using a catalyst is expected as a technique for fixing CO2 and producing useful substances. (It) is an object of the present invention to provide a method for reducing carbon dioxide using a highly-durable catalyst that is capable of reducing CO2 at an overvoltage equal to or lower than overvoltages required for conventional catalysts to produce highly useful substances (such as formic acid (HCOOH), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), and ethane (C2H6)). ... Moreover, the method for reducing CO2 of the present invention can be applied to methods using a solar cell as an external power supply. The catalyst for reducing CO2 can be applied, by combination with a photocatalyst, to catalysts that can be used with solar energy. The present invention demonstrates that boron carbide (B4C), which is a highly durable compound, is capable of reducing CO2 electrolytically at an overvoltage lower than overvoltage required for conventional catalysts for reducing CO2. Boron carbide makes it possible to produce CH4 (Methane) ..., etc. from CO2 with less energy. That is, the method for reducing CO2 of the present invention can provide these useful substances from CO2 at lower cost".

And, herein we learn, that, perhaps a minute after midnight today, United States Tax Day, the United States Government again officially confirmed that, indeed, Carbon Dioxide can be efficiently converted into, among other things, substitute natural gas Methane, in yet another process developed by Japan's admirable Panasonic Corporation, another "artificial photosynthesis" technology, wherein the conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Methane and other hydrocarbons can be driven by simple sunlight, or a portion of the solar spectrum, and/or low-power photoelectricity generated from sunlight.

Comment follows, and is inserted within, excerpts from the hot-off-the-griddle:

"United States Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide

Method for reducing carbon dioxide - Panasonic Corporation

(Note that this technology was first published by the US Patent and Trademark Office last year, on March 14, 2013, as United States Patent Application 20130062216. We were readying a report on it, but, the USPTO beat us to the punch.)

Date: April 15, 2014

Inventors: Satoshi Yotsuhashi, Masahiro Deguchi, Yuka Yamada, Japan

(If you have followed our past reports concerning Panasonic's development Carbon Dioxide utilization technologies, and followed up by opening the links to the full documents we included in those reports, all the above names might be familiar to you. The honorable Yotsuhashi, Deguchi and Yamada are very accomplished scientists who, with other of their colleagues, have collaborated in the development of a truly extraordinary, unique, body of artificial photosynthesis technology that extends, as we will eventually see, even beyond Carbon Dioxide-to-hydrocarbon conversion, and which technology could even have import for the expanded use of our abundant United States Coal.)

Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka

Abstract: The present subject matter provides a method for reducing carbon dioxide with the use of a device for reducing carbon dioxide. The device includes a cathode chamber, an anode chamber and a solid electrolyte membrane. The cathode chamber includes a working electrode which includes a metal or a metal compound. The anode chamber includes a counter electrode which includes a region formed of a nitride semiconductor. First and second electrolytic solutions are held in the cathode and anode chamber, respectively. The working electrode and the counter electrode are in contact with the first and second electrolytic solution, respectively. The solid electrolyte membrane is interposed between the cathode and anode chambers. The first electrolyte solution contains the carbon dioxide. An electric source is not interposed electrically between the working electrode and the counter electrode.

Claims: A method for reducing carbon dioxide with use of a device for reducing carbon dioxide, the method comprising: a step (a) of preparing the device for reducing carbon dioxide, the device comprising: a cathode chamber; an anode chamber; and a solid electrolyte membrane; wherein: the cathode chamber comprises a working electrode, the working electrode comprises a metal or a metal compound, the anode chamber comprises a counter electrode, the counter electrode comprises a region formed of a nitride semiconductor on the surface thereof, a first electrolytic solution is held in the cathode chamber, a second electrolytic solution is held in the anode chamber, the working electrode is in contact with the first electrolytic solution, the counter electrode is in contact with the second electrolytic solution, the solid electrolyte membrane is interposed between the cathode chamber and the anode chamber, the first electrolyte solution contains the carbon dioxide, the working electrode is connected to the counter electrode, and an electric source is not interposed electrically between the working electrode and the counter electrode; a step (b) of irradiating the region with a light having a wavelength of 250 nanometers to 400 nanometers to reduce the carbon dioxide contained in the first electrolyte solution, wherein the working electrode is not irradiated with the light. 

The method ... wherein the nitride semiconductor is gallium nitride (or) aluminum gallium nitride. 

The method ... wherein the working electrode comprises a metal (and) wherein the metal is copper (or) wherein the metal is indium. 

The method ... wherein the first electrolyte solution is a potassium bicarbonate aqueous solution, a sodium bicarbonate aqueous solution, a potassium chloride aqueous solution, a potassium sulfate aqueous solution, or a potassium phosphate aqueous solution (and) wherein the second electrolyte solution is a sodium hydroxide aqueous solution or a potassium hydroxide aqueous solution. 

The method ... wherein ... the device is left at a room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. 

The method ... wherein: a metal wire is provided on the surface of the region, and not only the region but also the metal wire are irradiated with the light. 

The method ... wherein: a plurality of the metal wires is provided, and each of the metal wires is parallel to one another (and) wherein: a plurality of the metal wires is provided, and the plurality of metal wires have a shape of a mesh ... (and) wherein the metal wire comprises titanium (or) nickel (and/or) wherein the metal wire comprises titanium/nickel stacked wire. 

The method ... wherein in the step (b), at least one of formic acid, carbon monoxide and methane is obtained.

Summary: The methods disclosed in (cited patent literature) require an electric source between the anode electrode and a cathode electrode to reduce carbon dioxide. The present disclosure provides a novel method for reducing carbon dioxide without such an electric source. 

The present disclosure relates to a method for reducing carbon dioxide (which) includes the following steps. A step (a) is a step of preparing the device for reducing carbon dioxide. The device for reducing carbon dioxide includes a cathode chamber, an anode chamber and a solid electrolyte membrane. The cathode chamber includes a working electrode, and the working electrode includes a metal or a metal compound. The anode chamber includes a counter electrode and the counter electrode includes a region formed of a nitride semiconductor on the surface thereof. In the device, a first electrolytic solution is held in the cathode chamber, and a second electrolytic solution is held in the anode chamber. The working electrode is in contact with the first electrolytic solution and the counter electrode is in contact with the second electrolytic solution. The solid electrolyte membrane is interposed between the cathode chamber and the anode chamber. The first electrolyte solution contains the carbon dioxide. The working electrode is connected to the counter electrode. An electric source is not interposed electrically between the working electrode and the counter electrode. 

A step (b) is a step of irradiating the region with a light having a wavelength of 250 nanometers to 400 nanometers to reduce the carbon dioxide contained in the first electrolyte solution. The working electrode is not irradiated with the light."

------------------------- 

First of all, "light having a wavelength of 250 nanometers to 400 nanometers", as can be learned via:

Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology - ultraviolet light, UV; and:

http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/ozone/ozatmo.html;

is in the "ultraviolet" range, which actually comprises only about seven percent of the solar spectrum. And, most ultraviolet, despite all the sunburns you got at the beach as a kid, is filtered out by the atmosphere.

So, it is conceivable that an installation operating the process of our subject, "United States Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide", in which Carbon Dioxide is consumed and in which Methane, among other things, is produced, would be better situated at higher altitudes - if enough CO2 could be extracted from the thinner atmosphere at those higher altitudes to make the exercise worthwhile.

On the other hand, as can be deduced from:

Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; The Catskill Delware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility is an 160,000 square feet UV water disinfection plant that has been built in Upstate New York. It has been created in order to disinfect New York City's water supply. The compound is set to be the largest UV disinfection plant in the world. It has a total of 56 energy efficient UV reactors at a total cost to the city tax payers of $1,600,000. ... The facility will treat 2.2 billion US gallons per day. The facility opened on October 8, 2013";

building and operating large-scale artificial ultraviolet light, UV, industrial facilities for the UV treatment of fluids, whether liquids or gases, seems a practicable undertaking; with the implication being that the large-scale industrial generation of UV light is perfectly feasible. And, if coupled with, say, an isolated wind power facility that could also operate a process like that seen in:

Columbia University Practical Extraction of Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air; 2012; Assignee: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York; Abstract: The present invention describes methods and systems for extracting, capturing, reducing, storing, sequestering, or disposing of carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly from the air. ... A system for extracting or capturing carbon dioxide from atmospheric air";

then the conversion of large amounts of Carbon Dioxide extracted from the environment could well prove a practical, profitable proposition in many areas throughout the country that aren't at really high altitudes, but where, for whatever happy circumstance of geography, they have a fair amount of wind.

Further, note that Carbon Monoxide is another of the products which can be made via the process of our subject, "United States Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide", from Carbon Dioxide. And, we remind you, that, as seen for one example in our report of:

USDOE Carbon Monoxide + H2O = Alcohol | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 4,656,152 - Catalyst for Producing Lower Alcohols; 1987; Assignee: The United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the USDOE; A process and system for the production of the lower alcohols such as methanol, ethanol and propanol involves the reaction of carbon monoxide and water in the presence of a lead salt and an alkali metal formate catalyst combination";

once we have Carbon Monoxide, as extracted via the process of our subject, "US Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide", from Carbon Dioxide, we can do some modestly productive things with it.

Further, another of the products that can be generated via the process of "US Patent 8,696,883" from Carbon Dioxide is, as specified, substitute natural gas "methane". 

And, we remind you, that, as they also know to be true in Japan, as seen for one example in our report of:.

More Japan CO2 + Methane = Hydrocarbon Syngas | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 6,312,660 - Process for Preparing Synthesis Gas; 2001; Assignee: Chiyoda Corporation, Japan; Abstract: Disclosed is a process for producing a synthesis gas by reacting a carbon-containing organic compound with steam and/or carbon dioxide ... . The present invention relates to a process for the production of a synthesis gas (which) is a mixed gas containing hydrogen and carbon monoxide and is widely used as a raw material for the synthesis of ... methanol. Such a synthesis gas may be produced by reaction of a hydrocarbon with steam and/or carbon dioxide in the presence of a catalyst.  The production of a synthesis gas according to the present invention may be performed by reacting a carbon-containing organic compound with steam and/or carbon dioxide (CO2) in the presence of the (described) catalyst. As the carbon-containing organic compound, a lower hydrocarbon such as methane ... is preferred";

once we have the Methane, as synthesized from Carbon Dioxide, we can then react that CO2-derived Methane with even more Carbon Dioxide, in what is typically known as a "bi-reforming" or "tri-reforming" process, and thereby generate a "synthesis gas" blend of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen suitable for catalytic, chemical condensation into such seemingly-desirable substances as fuel alcohol "methanol".

In sum: Just today, April 15, 1014, our United States Government confirmed, through their issuance of our subject herein, "United States Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide", an important fact:

Carbon Dioxide, as is fortuitously co-produced during our generation of reliable and affordable electric power from our abundant Coal, is a valuable raw material resource.

We can collect Carbon Dioxide from whatever source most convenient to us, even the atmosphere itself, and, then, in a process which can be driven by freely-available environmental energy,  we can convert that Carbon Dioxide into a variety of commercially valuable products, perhaps most especially substitute natural gas Methane.


West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw