United States Patent: 8114916

We had been intending to make report of the extraordinary Carbon Dioxide recycling achievements of Russian emigre electrical engineer, Dr. Alex Severinsky, the founder of a couple of entrepreneurial start-up companies, and part-time lecturer at the University of Maryland.

Our documentation of his work had, heretofore, consisted primarily of Applications for United States Patents on his CO2-recycling processes and technologies; but, that has changed in somewhat dramatic fashion.

Severinsky had earlier achieved some notoriety through his successful law suit against Toyota, for their infringement of one of his many inventions, one related to internal combustion engines; a successful law suit that, as can be learned via:

Alexei Severinsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: wherein we're told, that: "Alexei "Alex" Severinsky is a Soviet emigre living in the United States. He is graduated from the Kharkiv University of Radioelectronics in 1967 and got his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Institute for Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics in Moscow in 1975. Severinsky emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States in 1978. Severinsky is the inventor of the Hyperdrive power-amplified internal combustion engine power train. He patented this invention in 1994. The system is used in hybrid cars, in particular in the Toyota Prius. On August 16, 2006, a U.S. federal judge required Toyota to pay Alex Severinsky $25 for every Prius II, Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX400h hybrid sold in the United States. On 21 July 2010 Severinsky and Toyota agreed on a settlement";

has made him a man of substance, given that Toyota is likely to sell a lot of those vehicles.

But, in addition to a federal judge, the University of Maryland also recognized Severinsky's genius, in their naming him, in 2008, to their:

Innovation Hall of Fame - Alex J. Severinsky: "A. James Clark School of Engineering Innovation Hall of Fame; Alex J. Severinsky; Inducted in October 2008 for pioneering work in the development of the Hyperdrive power amplified internal combustion engine power train for hybrid vehicles. Alex Severinsky received his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Kharkov College of Radioelectronics in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 1967, and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Institute for Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics in Moscow in 1975. He came to the United States in 1978 as a refugee. In 1986 he contacted the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and enrolled Viteq, a company that developed uninterruptable power supplies for computer systems, in Mtech’s Technology Advancement Program; in 1992 he enrolled PAICE Corporation, which licenses the Hyperdrive technology, in the same Mtech program. He consulted with Clark School faculty members to develop and refine his ideas for Hyperdrive. He also lectured in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Clark School, delivering a course on innovation. Severinsky served as CEO and chairman of PAICE until 2006. He then founded Fuelcor LLC, an intellectual property development company focused on synthetic fuels, where he continues to serve as CEO. He holds 21 patents in the United States, with patent filings in other countries throughout Europe, Asia and North and South America."

More can be learned via:

Alex Severinsky, ENME, Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland; where Dr. Severinsky is identified as a "Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering" with the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering.

In any case, we waited too long to make report of Severinsky's other outstanding work, which is:

Devising an integrated process that converts Carbon Dioxide, recovered from whatever handy source, into a variety of hydrocarbon fuels and other compounds.

With our apologies to the accomplished Dr. Severinsky for our failure to prioritize earlier reports of his work, following, with additional links and excerpts inserted and appended, are excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch, wherein our own United States Government, on Valentine's Day of this year, just yesterday, confirmed that Severinsky has, in fact, developed a practical method that will enable us to convert CO2 into a wide range of valuable hydrocarbon compounds, including familiar types of liquid hydrocarbon fuels:

"United States Patent 8,114,916 - Systems ... for Production of Synthetic Hydrocarbon Compounds

Date: February 14, 2012

Inventor: Alexander Severinsky, MD

Assignee: Fuelcor, LLC, VA

("Fuelcor's" web site is accessible via the link: Home; but, it is still, obviously, a "work in progress".)

Abstract: A process and system for producing hydrocarbon compounds or fuels that recycle products of hydrocarbon compound combustion - - carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, or both, and water. The energy for recycling is electricity derived from preferably not fossil based fuels, like ... renewable energy. The process comprises electrolysing water, and then using hydrogen to reduce externally supplied carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, then using so produced carbon monoxide together with any externally supplied carbon monoxide and hydrogen in Fischer-Tropsch reactors, with upstream upgrading to desired specification fuels; for example, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, and others. Energy released in some of these processes is used by other processes. Using adiabatic temperature changes and isothermal pressure changes for gas processing and separation, large amounts of required energy are internally recycled using electric and heat distribution lines. Phase conversion of working fluid is used in heat distribution lines for increased energy efficiency. The resulting use of electric energy is less than 1.4 times the amount of the high heating value of combustion of so produced hydrocarbon compounds when carbon dioxide is converted to carbon monoxide in the invention, and less than 0.84 when carbon monoxide is the source.

(So, we do have to add some energy, no surprise. But, as we've explained and detailed in some of our other reports, which we won't link to or explain herein since we have a lot of ground to cover, West Virginia, and the rest of United States Coal Country, does have significant "renewable", as specified as desirable by Severinsky, energy resources which it could apply to the task of Carbon Dioxide collection and conversion, in the form of wind, hydro and, even, geothermal. But, it might surprise many to learn, that, as seen in a report from our USDOE's National Energy Laboratories:

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/48594.pdf; concerning: "Feasibility Study of Economics and Performance of Solar Photovoltaics in Nitro, West Virginia; A Study Prepared in Partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency for the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative: Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Land and Mine Sites";

West Virginia, and presumably her surrounding Coal Country sister states, has a significant potential for the generation of Solar-electric power, as well, especially on existing, cleared and currently-abandoned and/or otherwise unused industrial sites.)

Claims: A method for producing hydrocarbon compounds comprising, a) generating hydrogen gas from water in an electrolyzer b) feeding carbon dioxide gas and at least a portion of said hydrogen gas to a reverse water gas shift reactor to generate a gaseous stream including at least water steam and syngas as a mixture of hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide gas, wherein b1) said reverse water gas shift reactor comprises serially connected reactors, b2) water steam is separated between and after said serially connected reactors, c) feeding a Fischer-Tropsch reactor with said syngas effluent from the reverse water gas reactor to generate hydrocarbon compounds ... . 

The method ... further comprising, a heat distribution process wherein heat distribution lines connecting two or more of (the described) steps are provided for receiving or supplying heat to or from said steps as to reduce need for balance of such heat of thermal energy supplied externally.

(As we have documented in other reports concerning both Coal conversion and Carbon Dioxide recycling technologies, some individual chemical reactions within the overall processes are "exothermic" and generate heat energy, which can be collected, and utilized to drive other needed, endothermic, chemical reactions within the process. Severinsky goes on in some detail, which we won't reproduce in our excerpts, about how that can be accomplished in his Carbon Dioxide recycling system.)


The method ... further comprising an electric energy distribution process wherein electric power distribution lines connecting two or more of said steps are provided for receiving or supplying electric energy to or from said steps as to reduce need for balance of such electric energy supplied externally. 

The method ... wherein within step b1) the following steps are performed: b) i feeding said hydrogen gas and said carbon dioxide gas to a first reverse water gas shift reactor to generate a first stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide and water steam; b) ii generating a second stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide by condensing at least some water steam from said first stream; b) iii feeding said second stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide to a second reverse water gas shift reactor to generate a third stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide and water steam; b) iv generating a fourth stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide by condensing at least some water steam from said third stream; b) v feeding said fourth stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide to a third reverse water gas shift reactor to generate a fifth stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide and water steam; b) vi generating a sixth stream of syngas along with carbon dioxide by condensing at least some water steam from said fifth stream; b) vii generating a last stream of syngas by separating at least a part of the carbon dioxide from said sixth stream, b) viii feeding said separated carbon dioxide back to the input of said first reverse water gas shift reactor and b) in supplying said last stream of syngas, to the input of said Fischer-Tropsch reactor.

(Once again, the "Fischer-Tropsch reactor" was originally developed to help convert Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels. See, for one example, our report of:

Mobil Upgrades Fischer-Tropsch Fuel | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 4,041,094 - Upgrading Products of Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis; 1977; Assignee: Mobil Oil Corporation, NY; 

Abstract: Upgrading of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis product ... . It is considered desirable to effectively and more efficiently convert synthesis gas, and thereby coal ..., to highly valued hydrocarbons such as motor gasoline with high octane number".)

Background and Field: This invention relates generally to the field of hydrocarbon compound production and, more specifically, to energy efficient processes and systems that produce hydrocarbon compound fuels. In a preferred embodiment, the invention relates to an apparatus and a method to convert electric energy into hydrocarbon compound fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel and diesel fuel, among others, and which are produced by recycling products of combustion--carbon dioxide and water.

In a preferred embodiment of the system with a carbon dioxide input, the amount of input electric energy needed to convert carbon dioxide into high heating value of output hydrocarbon compounds combustion energy is in a range of between 1.4 and 1.1."

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The concluding statement indicates that each one unit of "energy" we make and receive from this process for recycling Carbon Dioxide, the "products of combustion", will "cost" us one to four tenths of a unit of energy.

It is a net negative return on energy invested; but, if renewable energy is used to drive the process, then it can be thought of in terms of energy conversion efficiencies; which, in point of fact, you'll see aren't that great to begin with for the highly-touted darlings of the environmental lobby, if you study the data, for instance, on how much solar or wind energy fed as input to more conventional, and even more advanced, solar cells or wind mills actually gets converted into electricity. It ain't great.

Another way to think of it is in terms of dollars, rather than units of energy, since the two, in today's world, do equate. And, the "1.4 (to) 1.1" is actually the economic "penalty", over 1 to 1, we would pay for converting CO2 into liquid hydrocarbon fuels. However, if you study references we've provided in other reports, such as:

Coal TL vs. Hidden Oil Costs | Research & Development; concerning: "NDCF report: the hidden cost of imported oil; The National Defense Council Foundation, an Alexandria, Virginia-based research and educational institution has completed its year-long analysis of the "hidden cost" of imported oil. The NDCF project represents the most comprehensive investigation of the military and economic penalty our undue dependence on imported oil exacts from the U.S. economy";

you'll discover that the economic penalty we pay for importing foreign oil is as high as "1.6"; in terms of dollars invested by our entire US economy in obtaining foreign oil versus the energy's monetary value returned, to us, through it's use. So, from that standpoint, we would be significantly better off economically making hydrocarbons out of CO2, via the process of "United States Patent 8,114,916", than we would be by continuing to import OPEC hydrocarbons.

And, that doesn't really take into account some other factors, such as jobs not created, and, taxes thus not collected. Our own United States Department of Energy itself, as embodied in at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, National Laboratory, tells us, in a report accessible via the link:

http://cta.ornl.gov/cta/Publications/Reports/ORNL_TM2005_45.pdf;

that, between the years 1970 and 2004, the direct costs of imported oil to the United States economy certainly exceeded Five Trillion dollars, and, could, in fact, be calculated and argued to be as high as Thirteen Trilliondollars.

And, any economic analysis of recycling Carbon Dioxide into liquid hydrocarbon fuels must take into account the avoided potential, direct and indirect, costs of Cap & Trade taxation and the mandated Geologic Sequestration subsidy of the petroleum industry, since Big Oil wants to use our CO2, at our expense, to help him scrape the last dregs of petroleum out of his near-empty natural petroleum reservoirs.

In any case, yesterday's issuance of "United States Patent 8,114,916 - Systems ... for Production of Synthetic Hydrocarbon Compounds", wherein our US Government experts confirm that Carbon Dioxide can be productively reclaimed and recycled, followed by only one month their earlier issuance of:

"United States Patent: 8093305 - Systems ... for Production of Synthetic Hydrocarbon Compounds

Date: January 10, 2012

Inventor: Alexander Severinsky, MD

Assignee: Fuelcor, LLC, VA

Abstract: A process and system for producing hydrocarbon compounds or fuels that recycle products of hydrocarbon compound combustion--carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, or both, and water. The energy for recycling is electricity derived from preferably renewable energy. The process comprises electrolysing water, and then using hydrogen to reduce externally supplied carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, then using so produced carbon monoxide together with any externally supplied carbon monoxide and hydrogen in Fischer-Tropsch reactors, with upstream upgrading to desired specification fuels--for example, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, and others. Energy released in some of these processes is used by other processes. Using adiabatic temperature changes and isothermal pressure changes for gas processing and separation, large amounts of required energy are internally recycled using electric and heat distribution lines. Phase conversion of working fluid is used in heat distribution lines for increased energy efficiency. The resulting use of electric energy is less than 1.4 times the amount of the high heating value of combustion of so produced hydrocarbon compounds when carbon dioxide is converted to carbon monoxide in the invention, and less than 0.84 when carbon monoxide is the source."

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We'll cut our excerpts short, with just the Abstract, so that we can get back to the cost issue.

Note that, as above, we can make "gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene," and "diesel fuel" out of Carbon Dioxide, and Hydrogen, at an energy penalty, or cost, that is "1.4 times" the value of the energy returned if we use just Carbon Dioxide in the syntheses.

Using Carbon Monoxide lowers that penalty to below 1, so that, relative to the assumed costs of the electricity consumed in the process, we can actually make, theoretically, a straight profit if we blend some amount of Carbon Monoxide with the Carbon Dioxide; and, we remind you, that, as in:

Bayer Improves Coal + CO2 = Carbon Monoxide | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 7,473,286 - Carbon Monoxide Generator; 2009; Bayer Material Science, AG, Germany; An object of the present invention was ,,, to provide a continuous process for the production of CO gas by the gasification of coal using the generator according to the invention";

we have some intriguing Coal Country options available to us for making the economically beneficial Carbon Monoxide out of even more Carbon Dioxide.

In any case, both the above Severinsky US Patents evolved from and remain related to an earlier Carbon Dioxide recycling technology developed by him, the validity of which was confirmed by our US Government in their issuance, a few years ago now, of:

"United States Patent: 7642292 - Systems ... for Production of Synthetic Hydrocarbon Compounds

Date: January 5, 2010

Inventor: Alexander Severinsky, MD

Assignee: Fuelcor, LLC, MD

Abstract: A process and system for producing hydrocarbon compounds or fuels that recycle products of hydrocarbon compound combustion--carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, or both, and water. The energy for recycling is electricity derived from preferably not fossil based fuels, like from ...renewable energy. The process comprises electrolyzing water, and then using hydrogen to reduce externally supplied carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, then using so produced carbon monoxide together with any externally supplied carbon monoxide and hydrogen in Fischer-Tropsch reactors, with upstream upgrading to desired specification fuels--for example, gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel fuel, and others. Energy released in some of these processes is used by other processes. Using adiabatic temperature changes and isothermal pressure changes for gas processing and separation, large amounts of required energy are internally recycled using electric and heat distribution lines. Phase conversion of working fluid is used in heat distribution lines for increased energy efficiency. The resulting use of electric energy is less than 1.4 times the amount of the high heating value of combustion of so produced hydrocarbon compounds when carbon dioxide is converted to carbon monoxide in the invention, and less than 0.84 when carbon monoxide is the source.

(As you can see, the Abstract is so closely similar to that of the later "United States Patent 8,093,305" as to make differentiation of the two impossible for us. And, again, the efficiencies realized when Carbon Monoxide is utilized, as at least a portion of the Carbon source, are emphasized.)

Background and Description: This invention relates generally to the field of hydrocarbon compound production and, more specifically, to energy efficient processes and systems that produce hydrocarbon compound fuels. In a preferred embodiment, the invention relates to an apparatus and a method to convert electric energy into hydrocarbon compound fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel and diesel fuel, among others, and which are produced by recycling products of combustion--carbon dioxide and water.

Summary: In a preferred embodiment of the system with a carbon dioxide input, the amount of input electric energy needed to convert carbon dioxide into high heating value of output hydrocarbon compounds combustion energy is in a range of between 1.4 and 1.1. In another preferred embodiment of the system with a carbon monoxide input (thus eliminating the need to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide), the external electric energy needed to convert carbon monoxide is between 0.64 and 0.84 of the high heating value of hydrocarbon compounds. That is, in an embodiment of the present invention using carbon dioxide as an input, more electric energy will be required than the high heating value of combustion of hydrocarbon compounds produced. In another embodiment of the present invention, using carbon monoxide as an input, less electric energy will be required than the high heating value of combustion of hydrocarbon compounds produced."

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Once again, we will be paying an "energy penalty" for utilizing only straight Carbon Dioxide in the reaction that manufactures "gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel and diesel fuel".

But, and again, that "penalty" would be paid into the United States national economy; and, it would wipe out the "penalty" the United States national economy currently pays to the foreign, sometimes hostile, nations of OPEC for the privilege of importing foreign oil.

And, it would forestall and prevent the economic penalties of unproductive Cap & Trade taxation and parasitic Geologic Sequestration subsidies of the Oil industry, all of which would be saddled onto the backs of our Coal-fired power generation industry and their customers.

Finally, and to repeat the fact: Severinsky's processes do specify the use of renewable energy to generate the needed electricity, thus leading to a net Carbon Dioxide consumption.

As we've noted in other of our reports, we have absolutely plenty of potentials for generating such additional Carbon-free electricity, such as, in addition to the Mountain State Solar potentials documented above, as seen in:

http://hydropower.inl.gov/resourceassessment/pdfs/states/wv.pdf; concerning: "U.S. Hydropower Resource Assessment for West Virginia; (USOE)" at least "37 identified sites" in the "Ohio Main Stream (and) Kanawha River basin"s;

where the USDOE confirms that we could generate some significant, perhaps purpose-specific, hydropower in West Virginia alone; and, in:

Wind Powering America: West Virginia 50-Meter Wind Map; wherein we can access a "wind resource map for the state of West Virginia, provided by West Virginia Development Office, Energy Efficiency Program, which the USDOE says demonstrates the fact, that: "West Virginia has wind resources consistent with community-scale production (with) good-to-excellent wind resource areas ... concentrated on ridge crests in the eastern part of the state (and, there) are scattered areas along these ridge crests that are estimated to have outstanding-to-superb resource (wind resource potential)".

And, since Severinsky's processes require elemental, molecular Hydrogen at some stages, as, for instance, in his suggested: "electrolyzing water, and then using hydrogen to reduce externally supplied carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, then using so produced carbon monoxide together with any externally supplied carbon monoxide and hydrogen in Fischer-Tropsch reactors", we remind you, that, in conjunction with the above "wind resource map for the state of West Virginia", as in our report of:

Hydrogen from Wind Power | Research & Development; concerning:"United States Patent 7,329,099 - Wind Turbine and Energy Distribution System; 2008; Inventor: Paul Hartman, Ohio; Abstract: A new design of vertical axis wind turbine is disclosed ... . A wind electric system, wherein the apparatus ... is coupled to electrical generating means, and said electrical generating means is connected to an electrical load (and, which) electrical load comprises at least one electrolysis cell, said at least one electrolysis cell connected to an output stream of hydrogen gas and further connected to an input stream of water";

we have efficient means available to us for harnessing some of our Coal Country "wind resource"s to make that needed Hydrogen for us.

We, everyone in US Coal Country, have just been handed, via "United States Patent 8,114,916 - Systems ... for Production of Synthetic Hydrocarbon Compounds; Date: February 14, 2012"; a big box of Valentine's Day Carbon Dioxide chocolates.

We, here, can't wait to dig into 'em.

But, before we do, heck, before we can, the Coal Country press needs to send the senders of that gift a big, public "thank you" note; and, thereby let everyone else in Coal Country - - and everyone who's pushing Cap & Trade taxes and standing by our ongoing economic subservience to OPEC and Big Oil - - know that the gift has arrived, so that everyone else in Coal Country can enjoy it as well.


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