We have been documenting in our posts a couple of facts concerning the conversion of Coal into  hydrocarbon petroleum substitutes.
 
One is that primary, and long-known, Coal oils can serve as the agents of liquefaction and hydrogenation for raw Coal.
 
Another is that plain old Steam can serve as the source of Hydrogen that converts the Carbon content of Coal into petroleum-like hydrocarbons.
 
Yet a third is that synthesis gas, a mixture of Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide, most often known as "Syngas", once generated from Coal, like the primary Coal oils above, can also serve to facilitate the conversion of more raw Coal.
 
You have to sift the verbiage in the oil industry US Patent we enclose herein pretty fine to get to those facts.
 
But, all of them are again confirmed, as we attempt to illustrate through our excerpts from:
 
"United States Patent 4,435,269 - Conversion of Lignite to Higher Quality Fuels
 
Date: March, 1984
 
Inventor: Paul Gomory, MD
 
Assignee: Phillips Petroleum Company, OK
 
Abstract: A process to obtain liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon products from low grade carbonaceous deposits such as lignite, by retorting a first portion to produce a hydrocarbon oil, and reacting a second portion with the oil, thus producing increased fuel oils and gases.
 
Claims: A process for the beneficiation of a low grade particulate carbonaceous fuel source which comprises: retorting in a solids/vapor first retort ... a first portion of said particulate carbonaceous fuel source under elevated temperatures with a fuel gas comprising hydrogen and CO, thereby producing products comprising a residue char, a first stream of off-gases comprising first gaseous hydrocarbons, and a first oil, and contacting in a second retort ...  a second portion of said particulate carbonaceous fuel source with said oil under reaction conditions of elevated temperatures with CO and H2 effective to convert at least in part said second portion of said particulate carbonaceous fuel source to products comprising further oil, hydrocarbon gases, CO, water, ash, and particulate carbon.
 
(And) reacting said char (i.e., "particulate carbon") with steam to produce a conversion gas stream comprising carbon monoxide and hydrogen ... ."
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They make the process sound as complicated as possible, but still, in the full Disclosure, suggest that it is straightforward enough that it can be carried out at mine sites.
 
One of our fully-functioning consultants agrees that the following synopsis is accurate:
 
In sum, they are extracting a "first oil" by distilling raw Coal; then, generating Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen by reacting the Char left by that first distillation with Steam, and, then, combining all of those products with even more raw Coal to obtain "increased fuel oils and gases" from that "second portion".  
 
And, any "char" that might be left by that second process, as with the carbonaceous residue from the first process, can, as well, be reacted "with steam to produce ... carbon monoxide and hydrogen" that have their own uses in the hydrogenation sequence defined by this Phillips technology, even though such a mixture of gasses could, if nothing else, be catalytically condensed, as via the Fischer-Tropsch process, into liquid hydrocarbons..
 
Further, although Phillips specifies Lignite as the raw material of choice, there seems little reason the process could not be applied to Bituminous Coal, as well. The production of "first oil", from the initial distillation, obviously a coking process, might, but only might, be less. But, the greater quantity of carbonaceous residue Char remaining can still be reacted with Steam "to produce a conversion gas stream comprising carbon monoxide and hydrogen", as above.

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