United States Patent Application: 0130126359

We had something different in the works today when the item which is our subject herein popped into virtual reality.

And, that's likely an inaccurate use of the term, since the facts represented by our subject aren't virtual, they're concrete.

As we've documented quite a few times now, as most recently seen in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Panasonic 2013 CO2 to Methane, Formic Acid and Carbon Monoxide | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 8,414,758 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; April 9, 2013'; Inventors: Masahiro Deguchi, Satoshi Yotsuhashi, and Yuka Yamada, Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: A device for reducing carbon dioxide ... at a room temperature and under atmospheric pressure ... wherein ... formic acid (and/or) carbon monoxide (and/or) methane is obtained";

Japan's Panasonic Corporation has been embarked on a dedicated mission to make what is being termed in the few public press accounts of it that are available as "artificial photosynthesis" a commercially viable, practical means of exploiting our vast natural resource of Carbon Dioxide, and using that CO2 to synthesize stuff like "methane", which, as we'll again confirm further on, is a substance of intriguing utility, aside from its importance as the flagship component of "natural" gas.

We'll keep our excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch relatively brief, since the process disclosed appears to us simply a variant of that embodied in "United States Patent 8,414,758 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide"; albeit one which, as we take it, represents further improvements in the efficiency of a process which transforms Carbon Dioxide - - as recovered from whatever handy source, and, using solar, or even artificial, light energy to drive the process - - into various products of commercial value.

Comment follows excerpts from the very recent publication of:

"United States Patent Application 20130126359 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide

METHOD FOR REDUCING CARBON DIOXIDE - Patent application

METHOD FOR REDUCING CARBON DIOXIDE - PANASONIC CORPORATION

Date: May 23, 2013

Inventors: Masahiro Deguchi, et. al., Japan

Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka

Abstract: A method for reducing carbon dioxide utilizes a carbon dioxide reduction device including a cathode chamber, an anode chamber, a solid electrolyte membrane, a cathode electrode and anode electrode. The cathode electrode includes copper or copper compound. The anode electrode includes a region formed of a nitride semiconductor layer where an AlGaN layer and a GaN (Aluminum-Gallium Nitride and Gallium Nitride) layer are stacked. The anode electrode is irradiated with a light having a wavelength of not more than 350 nanometers to reduce the carbon dioxide on the cathode electrode.

(We're not inserting any reference links here because the subject is complicated, and our personal limitations would make any attempt at interpretation and explanation by us likely inaccurate. But,"light having a wavelength of not more than 350 nanometers" would fall into the various ranges of light known as "ultraviolet"; and, although ultraviolet comprises a smaller part of the solar spectrum, it packs, on a per-unit basis, a higher energy content. Some of it is absorbed by the atmosphere; and, maybe, something like this would be better built and installed at higher elevations. That could lead to some synergies since higher elevations seem to correlate with increased wind, and, since, as seen in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Columbia University August 2012 Practical CO2 Air Capture | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air; 2012; Assignee: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York; Abstract: The present invention describes methods and systems for extracting, capturing, reducing, storing, sequestering, or disposing of carbon dioxide (CO2), particularly from the air. The CO2 extraction methods and systems involve the use of chemical processes. Methods are also described for extracting and/or capturing CO2 via exposing air containing carbon dioxide to - - a basic solution which absorbs carbon dioxide and produces a carbonate solution. The solution is causticized and the temperature is increased to release carbon dioxide, followed by hydration of solid components to regenerate the base";

we can extract Carbon Dioxide from the air itself, the more air we get the more CO2 we can reclaim for consumption and utilization in the process of our subject.)

Claims: A method for reducing carbon dioxide using a carbon dioxide reduction device, the method comprising steps of:

(a) preparing the carbon dioxide reduction device comprising: a cathode chamber; an anode chamber; a solid electrolyte membrane; a cathode electrode; and an anode electrode, wherein: the cathode electrode comprises copper or copper compound on the surface thereof, the anode electrode comprises a region formed of a nitride semiconductor layer on the surface thereof, an Aluminum-Gallium Nitride layer and a Gallium Nitride layer are stacked in the nitride semiconductor layer, a first electrolytic solution is stored in the cathode chamber, a second electrolytic solution is stored in the anode chamber, the cathode electrode is in contact with the first electrolyte solution, the anode electrode is in contact with the second electrolyte solution, the solid electrolyte membrane is interposed between the cathode chamber and the anode chamber, the first electrolytic solution contains the carbon dioxide, and the cathode electrode is connected to the anode electrode electrically; and:

(b) irradiating the anode electrode with a light having a wavelength of not more than 350 nanometers to reduce the carbon dioxide contained in the first electrolytic solution on the cathode electrode.

(We interrupt here to remind you, in case you were wondering where we could get the "gallium", that, as seen for example in:

West Virginia Coal Association | China Extracts High-Tech Metal from Coal Ash | Research & Development; concerning: "Method For Extracting Gallium From Fly Ash; Publication No.: WO/2011/134402; International Patent Application No.: PCT/CN2011/073392; 2011; China Shenhua Energy Company, Beijing"; and:

West Virginia Coal Association | China Extracts Metallurgical Grade Aluminum Ore from Coal Ash | Research & Development; concerning: "Method For Preparing Metallurgical-Grade Alumina By Using Fluidized Bed Fly Ash; Publication Number: WO/2011/134398; International Application Number: PCT/CN2011/073371; 2011; China Shenhua Energy Company Limited, et. al., Beijing";

we should be able to scrounge some of it, and the Aluminum that's needed, as well, up just about anywhere in US Coal Country)

The method ... wherein at least a part of the surface of the AlxGaxN is covered with metal fine particles each containing nickel or with metal oxide fine particles each containing nickel. 

The method ... wherein the first electrolyte is a potassium bicarbonate aqueous solution, a sodium hydrogen carbonate aqueous solution, a potassium chloride aqueous solution, a potassium sulfate aqueous solution or a potassium phosphate aqueous solution. 

The method ... wherein the first electrolyte is a potassium bicarbonate aqueous solution (and) wherein the second electrolyte is a sodium hydroxide aqueous solution or a potassium hydroxide aqueous solution.

(Now, without reference links, we just wanted to remind you that "a potassium bicarbonate aqueous solution" is likely what you get by scrubbing CO2 out of the air with "a potassium hydroxide aqueous solution". This stuff is all integrated, and, even though it's not all spelled out, it all works together.)

The method ... wherein ... the carbon dioxide reduction device is placed under a room temperature and under an atmospheric pressure.

(As noted in the Disclosure of the above-cited "United States Patent 8,414,758 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide", these CO2 utilization processes don't require high pressures or high temperatures, with the attendant expense of additional energy, in order to operate effectively.)  

The method ... wherein ... formic acid is obtained. 

The method ... wherein ... carbon monoxide is obtained.

(We've previously reported on the value of both of the above products; although, as seen in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Exxon Carbon Monoxide + Water = Hydrocarbons | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 4,269,784 - Process for Converting CO and H2O into Hydrocarbons; 1981; Exxon Research and Engineering Company; Abstract: A homogeneous process for preparing hydrocarbons from CO and   H2O ... employing a soluble ruthenium catalyst. The process comprises contacting CO and H2O ... in the presence of a homogeneous aqueous solution containing a catalytically effective amount of a water-soluble ruthenium compound and heating the solution to temperatures of from 200 to   500C at pressures of from 0.1 to 100 MPa, the products are C9 to C60   hydrocarbons";

the potential uses for "carbon monoxide", "CO", might be more intriguing.)

The method ...  wherein ... hydrocarbon is obtained.

(The "hydrocarbon" is, further on, specified to be Methane, the potential utility of which we'll emphasize in closing comments.)

Summary: The present disclosure provides a novel method for reducing carbon dioxide.

(For example) the anode electrode ... was irradiated with light in a condition where the cathode chamber was sealed, namely, where the carbon dioxide was encapsulated. The carbon dioxide was reduced in the cathode chamber by the irradiation of the light. The reaction products generated by reducing the carbon dioxide were identified (and, as) a result, it was found that formic acid, carbon monoxide and methane were generated in the cathode chamber. ... Oxygen was generated in the anode chamber due to the oxidization reaction of the water."

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For the sake of brevity, since we have a little more ground to cover, we'll close there. But, we wanted to note, that, as immediately above, Oxygen is also generated as a potentially commercial, and cost offsetting, byproduct.

And, in case you were wondering, as seen for one example in:

"United States Patent Application: 0130122693 - Nitride Compound Semiconductor Element; May 16, 2013;

Inventor: Naomi Anzue, et. al., Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: A nitride compound semiconductor element according to the present invention is a nitride compound semiconductor element (as specified). Claims: A method for fabricating a nitride compound semiconductor device, the method comprising steps of: (a) preparing a flat wafer formed of gallium nitride";

Panasonic have also attended to the business of designing the "Gallium Nitride" semiconductors required by the process of our subject herein, "United States Patent Application 20130126359 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide".

But, finally, since "methane" is the "hydrocarbon" which can herein be generated from Water and Carbon Dioxide, via irradiation with a part of the solar spectrum, we remind you that, as seen for one example in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Saudia Arabia CO2 + Methane = Hydrocarbons + Syngas | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 7,355,088 - Process for Producing Benzene, Ethylene and Synthesis Gas; 2008; Inventors: Agaddin Mamedov, et. al., Saudi Arabia; Assignee: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Riyadh; Abstract: Process for producing benzene, ethylene and synthesis gas, comprising the steps of: i) introducing a starting gas flow comprising methane and carbon dioxide into a reactor";
once we have that Methane, generated from Carbon Dioxide, we can then react that CO2-derived Methane with even more Carbon Dioxide, and thereby synthesize more, and more complex, and more valuable, hydrocarbons.

West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw