Producing ethanol and saleable organic compounds using an environmental carbon dioxide reduction process

We've made many derisive comments, over the long course of our reportage, pertaining to the utter foolishness of promoting the use of Ethanol, made from agricultural produce, as a means to reduce or control greenhouse gas, i.e., Carbon Dioxide, emissions.



The CO2 generated during the cultivation and harvesting of crops, using modern techniques and machinery powered with fossil fuels, followed by processes of fermentation by microorganisms that evolve copious quantities of Carbon Dioxide during that fermentation, and, which fermentation is then followed by processes of distillation, which require heat energy that might be generated by even more processes that generate  Carbon Dioxide, makes the whole premise, as Penn State University scientist Craig Grimes once said about the concept of burying CO2, i.e., Geologic Sequestration:


As we've documented, if we do want Ethanol, and there are some good reasons why we might, then we can make plenty of it, with fewer CO2 emissions and less wastage of needed food-growing land, out of some of our abundant Coal.

Some educated opinion on that topic comes from a University of Houston, Texas scientist we have previously cited, whose further thoughts can be seen in:

Ethanol from Coal, Natural Gas, and Coke; not from Corn

"Ethanol from Coal ... not from Corn

By Michael Economides, Professor, University of Houston, 2010

Every so often a real solution to a national or international problem emerges to append the popular and politically-correct – but almost certainly wrong – hype of the day.

The November 9th announcement that Dallas-based Celanese Corporation has developed an “innovative process technology … to produce ethanol using basic hydrocarbon feedstocks” surely fits the bill. For this new process, anything from coal to natural gas to petroleum coke can be used; it’s that simple.

(We have previously documented Celanese Corporation's Coal conversion technologies, and further reports concerning them are in process.)

Within the industry, corn-based ethanol has been widely regarded as a disastrous failure.

The agricultural lobby of course supports it, propagating what my colleague Robert Bryce has routinely called the “ethanol scam”.

(A descriptive label we often like to apply to the concept of mandated Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide in leaky old oil wells.)

With an adverse impact on food prices, this ethanol is also highly-inefficient. For example, it takes 1.6 gallons of gasoline equivalent to produce one gallon of corn-based ethanol using today’s technology."

Celanese’s announcement is a game-changer though. With ethanol production now being suggested for industrial use, the entire notion of corn-based ethanol can be thrown on its head. This new technology can produce massive quantities of ethanol using an economically- advantageous process, one that would readily fulfill global needs without resorting to corn-based ethanol."


Again, we have documented, as in:

LeHigh University Converts Coal to Ethanol for USDOE | Research & Development; concerning: "Ethanol Synthesis; 1992; Kamil Klier; Lehigh University; Prepared for the USDOE Pittsburgh Technology Center.The objective of the proposed research is to investigate and develop a novel catalytic process for the conversion of coal-derived synthesis gas into high octane CI-C 4 alcohols, especially ethanol";

and will further document, in pending reports concerning the above-noted Celanese Corporation, that Coal can be efficiently converted into Ethanol, a fuel alcohol that is more "energy dense" than it's more-often thought of relative, Methanol.

Herein, though, we submit documentation of the fact, that, if we do want Ethanol, and we want to conserve our precious Coal for other vital uses, then we can, without the wasteful rigmarole of farming, fermenting and distilling corn, or other vital food crops, simply make the Ethanol directly from Carbon Dioxide, foregoing entirely the processes that initially entail tiresome botanical photosynthesis.

Comment follows excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"US Patent Application 2007/0282021 A1 - Producing Ethanol (from) Environmental Carbon Dioxide

Date: December, 2007

Inventor: Gregory Campbell, NY

(Note: As we've previously reported and explained, United States Patent Applications most often do not publish the affiliations of the inventors, nor, most often, the names if the ultimate assignees of the rights to the patent. However, other, readily accessible, web-based resources identify the named inventor to be:

Gregory A. Campbell, Professor Emeritus, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY.

So, this is not the product of some whiz kid fooling around in a lab he set up in his folk's basement.)

Abstract: Carbon dioxide, from a greenhouse gas source, is reacted with hydrogen, developed in an environmentally friendly process, such as from solar energy based electrolysis, to produce a mixture of ethanol and other saleable organic compounds.

The saleable organic compounds, such as methane, methanol and ethanol may be used as combustible fuel thus developing a green energy cycle.

A portion of the organic compounds may be separated into essentially pure components and used as chemical process feed stocks.

This invention relates to production of ethanol and other organic compounds by reaction of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, CO2, with green process-produced hydrogen, H2.

(There are a number of ways to generate "green process-produced hydrogen", as we've documented, for just a few examples, in:

NASA Hydrogen from Water and Sunlight | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 4,045,315 - Solar Photolysis of Water; 1977; NASA; Abstract: Hydrogen is produced by the solar photolysis of water"; and, in:

USDOE Algae Make Hydrogen for Coal and CO2 Hydrogenation | Research & Development; concerning: "Photosynthetic Hydrogen and Oxygen Production by Green Algae; Oak Ridge National Laboratory;  USDOE; Abstract: Photosynthesis research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is focused on hydrogen and oxygen production by green algae"; wherein Hydrogen, Oxygen and useful organic compounds can all be made by algae, in "bio-reactors" supplied with, as a primary nutrient, industrial exhaust gases; and, in:

Florida Hydrogen and Sulfur from H2S | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 6,572,829 - Photocatalytic Process for Decomposing Hydrogen Sulfide; 2003; University of Central Florida; Abstract: System for separating hydrogen and sulfur from hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas produced from oil and gas waste streams"; where, again, Hydrogen, along with commercially valuable by-product Sulfur, can be generated, using environmental energy, again from industrial exhaust gases.)

Summary: The present invention provides processes and systems for producing organic compounds from recovered carbon dioxide.

A source of energy not based on combustion of organic compounds produces no net .. carbon dioxide.

(We suggest, for one example, as a "source of energy not based on combustion of organic compounds" for this process, something like that described in:

Hydrogen from Wind Power | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 7,329,099 - Wind Turbine and Energy Distribution System; 2008; 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 ... connected to an output stream of hydrogen gas and further connected to an input stream of water"; which could be installed somewhere like:

Mountaineer Wind Energy Center - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; which reports that: "Mountaineer Wind Energy Center is a wind farm ... in the US state of West Virginia".)

A catalytic reactor system reacts hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce organic compounds.

Carbon dioxide may be removed from the air and may be concentrated with hindered amine technology.

(Other technologies, aside from "hindered amine", whatever that might be, are practical, as well, for removing Carbon Dioxide from the air itself, as seen, for one instance, in:

US Navy and Columbia University Recycle Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development; which, among other things, contains information concerning: "United States Patent 7,833,328 - Scrubber for Capturing Carbon Dioxide from Air; 2010; Assignee: Columbia University; Abstract: The present invention is directed to methods for carbon dioxide from air".)

Major products are ethanol, methanol and other chemicals with up to twelve carbons.

The catalyst may be a mixture of iron, copper, zinc, potassium and aluminum.

(Note that absolutely nothing expensive or rare is needed.)

Claims: A method for producing ethanol and other saleable organic products from recovered greenhouse gas carbon dioxide."


And, if, as herein, we ever do make any "ethanol" and "methanol" out of "greenhouse gas carbon dioxide", via the process of our subject "US Patent Application 2007/0282021 A1", then, as seen in our report of:

Mobil Oil 1977 Coal-Derived Alcohols to Gasoline | Research & Development; concerning, primarily: "United States Patent 4,025,575 - Process for Manufacturing Olefins; 1977; Assignee: Mobil Oil Corporation, NY; Abstract: A lower alcohol and/or ether feed is selectively converted to a mixture of light olefins, including ethylene and propylene, by catalytic contact of the feed ... with certain crystalline aluminosilicate zeolite catalysts exemplified by HZSM-5; (And) wherein said feed comprises methanol or ... ethanol";

we can then, if we want, convert them both into Gasoline.

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