United States Patent: 4207208
 
Herein, we present yet another oil industry technology intended to improve the process of indirectly converting Coal into more versatile hydrocarbons.
 
What we find most interesting about this ExxonMobil-owned Coal conversion technology is that it's development was, apparently, paid for by all of us, through our tax dollars, as evidenced in the following preview: "The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract Number E(49-18)2276 awarded by the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration." 
 
Those concerns, for the moment, aside, more comment follows additional excerpts from:
 
"United States Patent 4,207,208 - Method for (Improving) Syngas Conversion Catalyst
 
June, 1980
 
Inventor: Stanley Lucki and James Brennan, NJ
 
Assignee: Mobil Oil Corporation, NY
 
Abstract: A method is disclosed for the treatment of single particle iron-containing syngas (synthesis gas) conversion catalysts comprising iron, a crystalline acidic aluminosilicate zeolite having a silica to alumina ratio of at least 12, a pore size greater than about 5 Angstrom units and a constraint index of about 1-12 and a matrix. The catalyst does not contain promoters and the treatment is applicable to either the regeneration of said spent single particle iron-containing catalyst or for the initial activation of fresh catalyst. The treatment involves air oxidation, hydrogen reduction, followed for the catalytic conversion of said syngas. The single particle iron-containing catalysts are prepared from a water insoluble organic iron compound.  by a second air oxidation and contact of the iron-containing single particle catalyst with syngas prior to its use.
 
Government Interests: The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. E(49-18)2276 awarded by the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration.
 
Background: This invention (concerns) converting synthesis gas, i.e. mixtures of gaseous carbon oxides with hydrogen or hydrogen donors, to hydrocarbon mixtures and more specifically, with catalyst treatment.
 
Processes for the conversion of coal and other hydrocarbons, such as natural gas, to a gaseous mixture consisting essentially of hydrogen and carbon monoxide and/or dioxide are well known.
 
Recently, it has been discovered that the conversion of synthesis gas into valuable products can be greatly enhanced by employing a special type of crystalline alumino-silicate zeolite exemplified by ZSM-5 in admixture with a conventional Fischer-Tropsch catalyst.
 
As can well be appreciated, the patent and technical literature relating to the Fischer-Tropsch process, is, indeed, extensive ... .
 
It is recognized that it is notoriously old in the Fischer-Tropsch art to reactivate spent catalysts by a wide variety of techniques which include not only oxidation, but also reduction."
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We close our excerpts here. The full details specify a more economic and effective way to regenerate spent Coal conversion catalysts. Which, for us, is notable since this is yet another technology that has been highly developed, not to convert Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels, but, to make such Coal conversion even better and more competitive.
 
And, again: "The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. E(49-18)2276 awarded by the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration."
 
Further: If the "literature relating to the Fischer-Tropsch process" for Coal-to-liquid conversion "is, indeed, extensive", why haven't those of us resident in US Coal Country been privileged to read much of it?
 
The WVU English Department should offer a course: "Introductory Fischer-Tropsch Literature".
 
And, if such Coal conversion "art ... is notoriously old", why has it taken so long for news of it to reach us?
 
It might well be old, but it sure ain't notorious - even though it should be.

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