http://www.osti.gov/scitech/servlets/purl/1121739

We've presented you now with a number of reports concerning the, in large part US Government-sponsored, development of Coal-to-Liquid technology and industry in the neighboring Rocky Mountain and northern Plains states of North Dakota and Montana.

We alerted you, for instance, long ago to the once-planned "Many Stars" Coal liquefaction project, intended to be built by the Crow Nation in the state of Montana. We can't at this time track down any of our few prior reports concerning Many Stars, a project that appears to have been thwarted and now lies dormant; but, for as long as the web site remains active, more can be learned about it via:

 http://www.manystarsctl.com/; "Many Stars is an energy development project led by Australian-American Energy Company, LLC in collaboration with the Crow Tribe (Apsaalooke Nation). The Many Stars Project intends to use integrated biomass and clean-coal technology to produce transportation fuels and specialty chemicals for domestic use".

More recently, we've documented the development, by the neighboring University of North Dakota, under contract with the US Government, of just such technology intended "to use integrated biomass and clean-coal technology to produce transportation fuels", as, for one example, in our report of:

North Dakota Advances Direct Coal Liquefaction | Research & Development | News; concerning: "SUBTASK 3.9 – DIRECT COAL LIQUEFACTION PROCESS DEVELOPMENT; Final Report (for the period of March 1, 2010, through July 31, 2012); Prepared for: National Energy Technology Laboratory; U.S. Department of Energy; Pittsburgh, PA; Cooperative Agreement No.: DE-FC26-08NT43291; Prepared by: Ted R. Aulich (and) Ramesh K. Sharma; Energy & Environmental Research Center; University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND; July, 2012; Abstract: The Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Accelergy Corporation, an advanced fuels developer with technologies exclusively licensed from ExxonMobil, undertook Subtask 3.9 to design, build, and preliminarily operate a bench-scale direct coal liquefaction (DCL) system capable of converting 45 pounds/hour of pulverized, dried coal to a liquid suitable for upgrading to fuels and/or chemicals. 

Note, in the above, participation by both "Ramesh K. Sharma" and "Accelergy Corporation".  We have cited both previously in our reports, for example, of:

North Dakota Converts Coal and Biomass to Gasoline for USDOE | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130338411 - Liquefaction of Carbonaceous Material and Biomass to Produce a Synthetic Fuel; 2013; Inventor: Ramesh K. Sharma, ND; Abstract: The present invention relates to production of fuels from carbonaceous material and biomass. ... Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-0SNT43291 entitled "EERC-DOE Joint Program on Research and Development for Fossil Energy-Related Resources," Subtask 3.5 entitled "Catalytic Coal Liquefaction to Produce Transportation Fuels," Energy & Environmental Research Center(EERC) Fund 15159, and U.S. Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-0SNT43291 entitled "EERC-DOE Joint Program on Research and Development for Fossil Energy-Related Resources," Subtask 3.8 entitled "Analysis of Multiple Pathways for Converting Coal to Liquid Transportation Fuels," EERC Fund 16344. The government has certain rights in this invention. Claims; A method of liquefaction of carbonaceous material and biomass, comprising: providing or obtaining a feed mixture, the mixture comprising carbonaceous material and biomass; and subjecting the feed mixture to liquefaction, to provide a product slurry; wherein the carbonaceous material comprises a nonpetroleum fossil fuel (and) wherein the carbonaceous material comprises coal, coal tar, wax from a FT process ... or a combination thereof. The method ... wherein the coal comprises coal powder, pulverized coal, or a combination thereof (and) wherein the coal comprises lignite, brown coal, jet coal, subbituminous coal, bituminous coal, steel coal, anthracite, graphite, or a combination thereof (and) wherein the biomass comprises plant-derived oil, algae-derived oil ... . A method of fuel production from carbonaceous material and biomass ... . The method ... wherein the fuel comprises a liquid transportation fuel. A method of liquefaction of coal and biomass"; and:

China Coal Conversion Plant Recycle CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "'China Coal-to-Liquid Plant Will Use Algae-based CO2 Capture'; October 19, 2011; A partnership in China that will bring together a Houston-based coal-to-liquids company and a major Chinese coal and construction firm will utilize a CO2 capture system powered by algae. Accelergy Corporation will provide the Yankuang Group with its trademarked TerraSync terrestrial sequestration system to capture carbon from the future facility in Erdos, an area in China’s Inner Mongolia Province. Along with the TerraSync system, Accelergy will also create a hybrid configuration of a microcatalytic coal liquefaction system in conjunction with a Fischer Tropsch system provided by Yankuang"; and:

Coal + Biomass to Liquids, with Algae CO2 Recycling | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20120144887 - Integrated Coal to Liquids Process and System with CO2 Mitigation Using Algal Biomass; 2012; Inventors: Rocco A. Fiato, et. al., NJ; Assignee: Accelergy Corporation, Houston; Abstract: An ICBTL (Integrated Coal and Biomass To Liquids) system having a low GHG footprint for converting coal or coal and biomass to liquid fuels in which a carbon-based feed is converted to liquids by direct liquefaction and optionally by indirect liquefaction and the liquids are upgraded to produce premium fuels. CO2 produced by the process is used to produce algal biomass and photosynthetic microorganisms in a photobioreactor".

And, concerning the "technologies exclusively licensed from ExxonMobil", we believe that refers to their "donor solvent" body of Coal liquefaction technology, which ExxonMobil and it's precedent companies, as seen, for only one example, in our report of; 

Esso 1974 Lower-Cost Coal Conversion | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 3,841,991 - Coal Conversion Process; 1974; Assignee: Esso Research and Engineering Company; Abstract: A process for the preparation of liquid products from coal wherein finely-divided coal particles are slurried in a hydrogen-rich liquid hydrocarbon solvent at low temperature and substantially atmospheric pressure and the resulting slurry is passed into a fluid bed coking unit where conversion of the coal, solids separation, and thermal cracking of a heavy product take place simultaneously. This invention relates to the manufacture of liquid hydrocarbons from coal and is particularly concerned with an improved coal conversion process wherein conversion of coal, separation of solvent, and thermal cracking of heavy products are carried out simultaneously in a fluidized coking unit.There is substantial interest in the development of processes for the manufacture of synthetic crude oils and liquid hydrocarbons from coal. Among the more promising processes of this type are those based upon the solvent extraction of liquid constituents from coal with an aromatic solvent. Such processes require that coal be digested at elevated temperature and pressure with a hydrogen-donor solvent, generally in the presence of added hydrogen gas. The hydrogen contributed by the solvent and gas increases the amount of extract recovered and upgrades the liquid products. Following this solvent treatment, the products are separated to yield a high boiling extract containing liquid hydrocarbons";

have been developing and refining for many decades.

And, herein, we see that both Rocco Fiato and Ramesh Sharma participated in the Crow Tribe's, the promoters of the "Many Stars" Coal liquefaction facility, study and assessment of the co-liquefaction of Coal and Biomass, again for the United States Department of Energy. Comment follows and is inserted within excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"Montana Integrated Carbon to Liquids (ICTL) Demonstration Program

(Back-up link: http://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/1121739)

Final Technical Report; Reporting Period End Date: December 2013

Principal Authors: Rocco A. Fiato, Ramesh Sharma, et. al.

(Keep in mind, that, as seen for one example in our report of:

Exxon Recycles CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "'Iron catalyzed CO2 hydrogenation to liquid hydrocarbons'; Rocco A. Fiato, et. al.; 

Exxon Research and Engineering Company; Many of the catalysts which are useful in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis are also capable of catalyzing the hydrogenation of CO2 to hydrocarbons. Our structure-function studies have shown that it is possible to control the selectivity of CO2 hydrogenation by specific iron-based catalysts to generate yields of C5 + hydrocarbons that are comparable to those produced with conventional CO based feedstocks";

Rocco Fiato was formerly with ExxonMobil, where he also did some rather intriguing work.)

DOE Award Number: DE‐FE0003595

Submitting Organization: The Crow Tribe of Indians of the Crow Reservation; Crow Agency, Montana

Subcontractor: Accelergy Corporation; Houston, Texas 77008

Abstract: Integrated carbon‐to‐liquids technology (ICTL) incorporates three basic processes for the conversion of a wide range of feedstocks to distillate liquid fuels: (1) Direct Microcatalytic Coal Liquefaction (MCL) is coupled with biomass liquefaction via (2) Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation and Isomerization (CHI) of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) or trigylceride fatty acids (TGFA) to produce liquid fuels, with process derived (3) CO2 Capture and Utilization (CCU) via algae production and use in BioFertilizer for added terrestrial sequestration of CO2, or as a feedstock for MCL and/or CHI.

This novel approach enables synthetic fuels production while simultaneously meeting EISA 2007 Section 526 targets, minimizing land use and water consumption, and providing cost competitive fuels at current day petroleum prices.

ICTL was demonstrated with Montana Crow sub‐bituminous coal in MCL pilot scale operations at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota (EERC), with related pilot scale CHI studies conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center (PARC).

Coal‐Biomass to Liquid (CBTL) Fuel samples were evaluated at the US Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) in Dayton and greenhouse tests of algae based BioFertilizer conducted at Montana State University (MSU). Econometric modeling studies were also conducted on the use of algae based BioFertilizer in a wheat‐camelina crop rotation cycle. We find that the combined operation is not only able to help boost crop yields, but also to provide added crop yields and associated profits from TGFA (from crop production) for use an ICTL plant feedstock.

This program demonstrated the overall viability of ICTL in pilot scale operations.

Related work on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a Montana project indicated that CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization)could be employed very effectively to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the MCL/CHI process.
Plans are currently being made to conduct larger‐scale process demonstration studies of the CHI process in combination with CCU to generate synthetic jet and diesel fuels from algae and algae fertilized crops. Site assessment and project prefeasibility studies are planned with a major EPC firm to determine the overall viability of ICTL technology commercialization with Crow coal resources in south central Montana.

Executive Summary: Biomass Conversion via Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation and Isomerization (CHI) to diesel
and jet technology, coupled with Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) via conversion of process‐derived CO2 (and) waste water to produce algae‐based BioFertilizer for terrestrial CO2 sequestration and bio‐oil as a feedstock for added fuels or chemicals production. ... .

ICTL technology was demonstrated with Montana Crow sub‐bituminous coal in Microcatalytic Coal Liquefaction (MCL) pilot scale operations at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota (EERC). Pilot scale studies of Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation and Isomerization (CHI) of bio‐oil feeds were conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center (PARC), from which blended Coal‐Biomass to Liquid (CBTL) fuel samples were evaluated at the US Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) in Dayton.

Carbon Capture and Recycle was achieved via production of algae from CO2 and greenhouse tests of algae derived BioFertilizer conducted at Montana State University (MSU). Hence, all the major technical objectives of this project were successfully completed.

This program provided proof of principle tests on all key steps of the ICTL flow scheme, and the results of these studies are providing a basis for taking this technology to the next phase of commercial development.

Accelergy is conducting process screening and site assessment studies on Montana and other locations to advance these individual technologies.

ICTL conversion technology is configured to operate alone (and, this) approach allows us to use coal as the primary feedstock for fuel production, while simultaneously mitigating CO2 and generating added biomass for optional conversion to fuels.

The fully integrated ICTL flow scheme provides a combination of features and advantages that cannot be achieved with current or emerging indirect conversion alternatives. MCL pilot studies have shown that over 4 barrels of cleaner burning liquid fuel (up to 60% in the jet boiling range) can be produced per ton of carbon feed (from coal alone or coal plus biomass), almost twice the liquid yield possible from other indirect conversion technologies.

Process derived CO2 is used to produce BioFertilizer which in normal use continues to capture CO2 and nitrogen to produce stable carbon species in treated soil. In this manner, the algae BioFertilizer induces further capture of CO2 via terrestrial sequestration leading to an overall capture ratio of CO2 to algae carbon (LCA basis) of up to 150/1. Studies have shown that capture ratios of >10/1 are possible in 20‐30 day soil treatment periods, while even higher ratios have been observed for net carbon capture in long‐term multi‐year desert soil stabilization studies.

Novel process integration also enables us to more effectively utilize by‐product waste gas and wastewater streams from one section of the facility as feedstocks for another. This integrated design improves overall efficiency and eliminates a critical barrier to entry by reducing overall investment by up to 15‐30% .... .

Econometric studies showed that the CCU option provided lower cost than other carbon sequestration routes, and the algae BioFertilizer can provide economic advantages in a wheat‐camelina crop production that incorporates the
BioFertilizer as a one for one replacement of conventional ammonia based fertilizer.

Unlike FT (Fischer-Tropsch)‐based CTL processes that require complete feedstock disassembly to a syngas
followed by syngas reassembly into a fuel- both steps of which require high energy inputs/outputs - Accelergy’s direct coal liquefaction MCL process leverages coal feed chemistry through partial feedstock disassembly to a liquid followed by liquid upgrading to a fuel. Both steps in Accelergy MCL involve significantly lower energy inputs/outputs than their FT process counterparts.

Pilot scale samples of synthetic jet (fuel) from Accelergy/EERC MCL/CHI pilot plant studies met Tier 1 certification requirements in tests performed at the US Air Force Research Labs. We plan to expand that program at EERC to produce larger quantities of JP‐8/Jet A blendstocks for Tier 2‐4 AFRL testing, and to examine different direct coal/biomass liquefaction routes and related fuel quality/composition effects.

OVERALL CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTION: Integrated Coal To Liquids  has been shown in laboratory studies to be a viable approach to the conversion of coal to distillate fuels with overall low GHG footprint and cost effective conversion due to the more efficient direct liquefaction technology coupled with carbon capture and utilization. This approach is based upon Direct Coal Liquefaction (DCL)/Biomass Conversion via Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation  and Isomerization (CHI) hydroprocessing technology coupled with Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) via conversion of process‐derived CO2 and waste water to produce algae‐biomass based BioFertilizer for terrestrial CO2 sequestration and bio‐oil as a feedstock for added fuels or chemicals production.

ICTL technology was successfully demonstrated with Montana sub‐bituminous coal in Microcatalytic Coal Liquefaction (MCL) pilot scale operations at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota (EERC). Products from that operation were isolated, characterized and tested at DOD AFRL labs in Dayton. These materials were very similar in composition to ones previously studied by Schobert et al – and they offer a potentially new and high performance pool of molecules for future synthetic jet fuel applications.

(By the above reference to "Schobert et. al.", they mean Dr. Harold Schobert of the Pennsylvania State University, whom we've cited a number of times, as, for example, in our reports of:

Penn State Makes Jet Fuel from Coal for USDOE | Research & Development | News; "Advanced Thermally Stable Jet Fuels; Author: H.H. Schobert; 1999; OSTI ID: 775227; Report Number: DE--FG22-92PC92104-08; DOE Contract: FG22-92PC92104; Research Organization: Federal Energy Technology Center, Morgantown, WV; (and) Federal Energy Technology Center, Pittsburgh, PA; Sponsoring Organization: US Department of Energy; Abstract: The Pennsylvania State University program in advanced thermally stable coal-based jet fuels"; and:

Penn State Seeks US Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Patent | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent Application 20080256852 - Process ... for Producing Coal-based Jet, Diesel and Distillate Fuels; 2008; Inventor: Harold H. Schobert, State College, PA; Abstract: Coal-based jet fuel, diesel fuel and/or distillate fuels are produced by selectively introducing a coal-based product directly into the petroleum refinery process flow to thereby create an integrated refinery process for producing the distillate fuels".)

Pilot scale studies of Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation and Isomerization (CHI) of bio‐oil feeds were conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center (PARC). The ability to efficiently convert FAME, TAG, and FA feeds to a highly saturated normal and iso paraffinic distillate was demonstrated. Samples of those products were blended into Coal‐Biomass to Liquid (CBTL) fuel samples and these were evaluated at the US Air Force Research
Labs (AFRL) in Dayton. These materials make ideal blending components for the aromatic and highly cycloparaffinic blendstocks from MCL – in effect allowing the product of a fully synthetic jet fuel from the various molecular components.

Carbon Capture and Recycle was achieved via production of algae from CO2 and greenhouse tests of algae derived BioFertilizer conducted at Montana State University (MSU). The BioFertilizer was tested with various indigenous crops in Crow MT soil and shown to be an effective replacement for conventional ammonia and Hoagland’s formulated chemical fertilizer. The ability to offset C emissions from production of conventional fertilizer and the ongoing terrestrial CO2 sequestration induced by BioFertilizer makes it a worthy candidate solution for
GHG issues in synthetic fuels production. LCA studies have confirmed this concept and more larger scale studies are planned."

------------------------- 

As Fiato, et. al., explain in great detail, the use of algal oils in the fuel-making process, in a process complementary to the direct Coal liquefaction, combined with using some algal biomass as fertilizer, displacing commercial fertilizers with their own CO2 footprint, with the resultant increase in plant growth and soil sequestration of CO2, when the algae are fed the CO2 co-product of the proposed "ICTL" Coal conversion technology along with other nutrients arising from the CTL process, enables a pretty thorough and complete, and productive, "Carbon Capture and Recycle".

And, the conclusion is:

"Integrated Coal To Liquids  has been shown in laboratory studies to be a viable approach to the conversion of coal to distillate fuels with overall low GHG footprint and cost effective conversion."

We the People, maybe especially all of us United States citizens resident in US Coal Country, paid, through "DOE Award Number: DE‐FE0003595" and the public taxes which financed it, to have these technologies and concepts for so effectively using our vast Coal resources for the "cost effective" production of "distillate fuels" developed.

Shouldn't we have the privilege of at least being told all about them; and, then, enabled to benefit from them?


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