United States Patent: 8709227

We have documented so many times that Japan's Panasonic Corporation, who were once well-known in the United States, have developed and continue to develop practical technologies for the productive consumption and chemical use of Carbon Dioxide - - in processes driven by freely-available environmental energies of one sort or another and yielding hydrocarbon products like substitute natural gas Methane - - that we fear our reports about Panasonic's "artificial photosynthesis" innovations might become insufferably redundant.

 

But, they're pressing on. And, since we under-informed citizens of the United States of America press on in our self-destructive addiction to imported OPEC hydrocarbons and to hydrocarbons extracted at as yet unaccounted-for economic and environmental expense from abyssal shales like the almost, and unjustly, mythologized Marcellus, we, here, must press on, with the help of Panasonic, in demonstrating for you, that:

Carbon Dioxide, as it arises in only a small way - - relative to some all-natural and un-taxable sources of it's emission, such as the Earth's inexorable processes of planetary volcanism - - from our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of truly abundant and truly affordable electric power, can be seen and treated as a valuable, maybe even a precious, raw material resource.

We can reclaim Carbon Dioxide from whatever convenient source, even the atmosphere itself, and, then, as explained by Japan's Panasonic Corporation in our reports of: 

Panasonic 2013 CO2 to Methane, Formic Acid and Carbon Monoxide | Research & Development | News; 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 includes a cathode chamber including a cathode electrolyte solution and a cathode electrode, an anode chamber including an anode electrolyte solution and an anode electrode, and a solid electrolyte membrane. The anode electrode includes a nitride semiconductor region on which a metal layer is formed. The metal layer includes at least one of nickel and titanium. A method for reducing carbon dioxide by using a device for reducing carbon dioxide includes steps of providing carbon dioxide into the cathode solution, and irradiating at least part of the nitride semiconductor region and the metal layer with a light having a wavelength of 250 nanometers to 400 nanometers, thereby reducing the carbon dioxide contained in the cathode electrolyte solution. ... The method ... wherein ... the device is left at a room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. The method ... wherein ... formic acid (and/or) carbon monoxide (and/or) methane is obtained"; and:

Panasonic Solar CO2 to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,597,488 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; December 3, 2013; Inventors: Masahiro Deguchi, et. al., Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: The method for reducing carbon dioxide of the present disclosure includes a step (a) and a step (b) as follows. A step (a) of preparing an electrochemical cell. The electrochemical cell comprises a working electrode, a counter electrode and a vessel. The vessel stores an electrolytic solution. The working electrode contains at least one nitride selected from the group consisting of titanium nitride, zirconium nitride, hafnium nitride, tantalum nitride, molybdenum nitride and iron nitride. The electrolytic solution contains carbon dioxide. The working electrode and the counter electrode are in contact with the electrolytic solution. A step (b) of applying a negative voltage and a positive voltage to the working electrode and the counter electrode, respectively, to reduce the carbon dioxide. ... The method ... wherein in the step (b), at least one compound selected from the group consisting of methane, ethylene, ethane and formic acid is produced"; and:

Panasonic Solar Energy Converts More CO2 into Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,617,375 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; December 31, 2013; Inventors: Yugi Zenitani, Masahiro Deguchi, Satoshi Yotsuhashi, Reiko Taniguchi, Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: The method for reducing carbon dioxide of the present invention includes a step (a) and a step (b) as follows. A step (a) of preparing an electrochemical cell. The electrochemical cell comprises a working electrode, a counter electrode and a vessel. The vessel stores an electrolytic solution. The working electrode contains boron carbide. The electrolytic solution contains carbon dioxide. The working electrode and the counter electrode are in contact with the electrolytic solution. A step (b) of applying a negative voltage and a positive voltage to the working electrode and the counter electrode, respectively, to reduce the carbon dioxide. A carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction technique using a catalyst is expected as a technique for fixing CO2 and producing useful substances. (It) is an object of the present invention to provide a method for reducing carbon dioxide using a highly-durable catalyst that is capable of reducing CO2 at an overvoltage equal to or lower than overvoltages required for conventional catalysts to produce highly useful substances (such as formic acid (HCOOH), methane (CH4), ethylene (C2H4), and ethane (C2H6))"; and:

Japan Photosynthesizes More Methane from CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,696,883 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; Date: April 15, 2014; Inventors: Satoshi Yotsuhashi, Masahiro Deguchi, Yuka Yamada, Japan; Assignee: Panasonic Corporation, Osaka; Abstract: The present subject matter provides a method for reducing carbon dioxide with the use of a device for reducing carbon dioxide. The device includes a cathode chamber, an anode chamber and a solid electrolyte membrane. The cathode chamber includes a working electrode which includes a metal or a metal compound. The anode chamber includes a counter electrode which includes a region formed of a nitride semiconductor. ... The method ... wherein ... the device is left at a room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. The method ... wherein: a metal wire is provided on the surface of the region, and not only the region but also the metal wire are irradiated with the light (and) wherein ... at least one of formic acid, carbon monoxide and methane is obtained";

we can - - in processes of what is becoming known as "artificial photosynthesis", that is, processes driven by various components of the solar light spectrum - - convert that Carbon Dioxide, along with Hydrogen concurrently extracted from the water molecule, H2O, into such valuable hydrocarbons as substitute natural gas "methane", "ethylene" and "ethane"; and, into other, industrially-valuable products like "carbon monoxide" and "formic acid".

And, now, even additional Panasonic technologies of artificial photosynthesis, for the productive chemical consumption and utilization of Carbon Dioxide, are being confirmed by technical experts in the employ of our United States government as being valid and practicable.

Here, we must offer more of our disclaimers concerning our own sad insufficiencies in certain matters, especially matters of chemistry and chemical technology. Absent now the services of some, more competent and technically astute, who used to advise us, we avoid interpretation in as much as is possible; and, are ourselves wary of the conclusions regarding chemical processes we do draw.

That said, we remind you of one other of our reports, as accessible via:    

Panasonic Contiinues to Improve CO2 Recycling Technology | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130126359 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide; 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. ... The method ... wherein ... the carbon dioxide reduction device is placed under a room temperature and under an atmospheric pressure. The method ... wherein ... formic acid is obtained. The method ... wherein ... carbon monoxide is obtained.
The method ...  wherein ... hydrocarbon is obtained".

Based on our admittedly limited understanding of such matters, it appears that the above "United States Patent Application 20130126359 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide" artificial photosynthesis technology, and one closely related to it about which he have not yet reported, were, just one week ago, confirmed by independent United States Government technical experts as being valid, practicable technologies.

Comment, and record of an additional, concurrently-issued United States Patent follow excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"United States Patent 8,709,227 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide

Method for reducing carbon dioxide - Panasonic Corporation

Date: April 29, 2014

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 Aluminum-Gallium Nitride layer and a 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.

(The "light having a wavelength of not more than 350 nanometers" would be in the Ultraviolet range of the solar spectrum. See:

Ultraviolet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

And, that might limit the applicability of this technology to higher altitudes, where less of the solar UV radiation is filtered out by the atmosphere. As any pale-skinned Coal miner who's vacationed at the beach knows, however, after spending a few hours outside in a bathing suit, we still receive a significant amount of ultraviolet even at sea level. Further, there are, as we've documented in previous reports, industrial-grade generators of ultraviolet light, used for such things as the disinfection of drinking water, which are available and which could be powered by electricity powered by alternative, non-carbon sources. The potential exists to site an atmospheric CO2-extraction facility in an area of consistent wind, where the wind could provide both the Carbon Dioxide for extraction from the atmospheric air, perhaps via a process we'll described in a reference included further on in this report, and a little bit of supplemental electricity to power Xenon light bulbs, which, according to widely-available sources, are the preferred industrial-grade generators of the needed Ultraviolet light.)  

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 AlGaN layer and a GaN 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.

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 (and) 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. 

(An aqueous solution of potassium and/or sodium hydroxide, as above, can be converted into the bicarbonate solution by absorbing Carbon Dioxide. And, as seen in our report of:

Columbia University Practical Extraction of Atmospheric CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,246,731 - Systems and Methods for Extraction of Carbon Dioxide from Air; August 21, 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 solution comprising a base - - resulting in 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. The system ... further comprising a supply of basic solution in fluid connection with said wet scrubbing mechanism (and) wherein the base material included in said basic solution is selected from sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide. The system ... wherein the base material is sodium hydroxide (and) wherein the carbonate solution is a sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) solution. ... The present invention relates generally to the field of extractors, including those that work to extract carbon dioxide from air. The present invention relates to methods and devices for extracting carbon using wet scrubbing techniques. ...The capture of CO2 from air allows the CO2 to be recovered; thereafter, renewable energy can be used to convert the CO2 (and water) back into a new hydrocarbon";

both Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide have been confirmed to be such efficient scavengers of Carbon Dioxide that they can be used for extracting CO2 even from the atmosphere itself, for just such subsequent conversion, recycling, of the extracted Carbon Dioxide "into a new hydrocarbon".)  

The method ... wherein ... the carbon dioxide reduction device is placed under a room temperature and under an atmospheric pressure (and) wherein ... at least formic acid (or) carbon monoxide (or) at least hydrocarbon is obtained".

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We'll leave it at that, since there is yet more ground to cover, in the concurrently issued:.

"United States Patent: 8709228 - Method for Reducing Carbon Dioxide

Method for reducing carbon dioxide - Panasonic Corporation

Date: April 29, 2014

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 indium or indium compound. The anode electrode includes a region formed of a nitride semiconductor layer where an Aluminum-Gallium Nitride layer and a 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.

Claims: The method ... wherein ... at least one of formic acid, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon is obtained.

It is desirable that this light has a wavelength of not less than 250 nanometers and not more than 325 nanometers.

The carbon dioxide contained in the first electrolytic solution is reduced on the cathode electrode, which includes metal or metal oxide which contains indium as a main component, so as to produce at least one kind of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and formic acid".

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We'll close there, since the stipulation of "indium as a main component" seems to be the major differentiation between United States Patent 8,709,228 and United States Patent 8,709,227. And, it's inclusion seems to influence the mix of products evolved from Carbon Dioxide through application of this photosynthetic technology. We rather imagine that, if any Coal Country journalists were interested enough in the economic potentials hinted at herein for US Coal Country, Panasonic would be eager to provide someone knowledgeable who could more than adequately explain the variances and their implications.

Our read of the associated documentation indicates that Methane is the primary "hydrocarbon" which can be formed from Carbon Dioxide via these Panasonic photosynthetic technologies. And, we remind you, that, as seen for only one out of now many examples in:

Saudia Arabia CO2 + Methane = Hydrocarbons + Syngas | Research & Development | News; 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; 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; ii) oxidizing the methane in the reactor at certain reactor conditions optionally using a first catalytic material and/or and additional oxidant; and: iii) removing a product gas flow comprising benzene, ethylene and synthesis gas from the reactor";

once we have Methane, as photosynthesized herein by Panasonic from Carbon Dioxide and Water, we can then react that CO2-derived Methane with even more Carbon Dioxide, and thereby form both even more valuable hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon "synthesis gas", which "syngas" can be chemically, catalytically condensed via any number of known and established processes - - such as the venerable, nearly-ancient Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, originally developed for the indirect conversion of Coal, through an initial process of gasification, into liquid hydrocarbon fuels - -, into even more hydrocarbons.

We further note that "carbon monoxide", another product which can be made from Carbon Dioxide through the processes disclosed herein by Panasonic Corporation, is one of the two major components, the other being Hydrogen, of such hydrocarbon "synthesis gas".

Finally, again, as confirmed herein by technical experts in the employ of our United States Government, Carbon Dioxide, of which opponents of Coal, whatever their stripe, have tried to make an economic albatross to hang around the neck of our Coal-based industrial community, is a valuable raw material resource, a raw material resource from which, in processes driven by freely-available environmental energy, we can synthesize such things as substitute natural gas Methane. 

And, it's far past time our Coal Country press corps started to become as enlightened and open on that fact, on those potentials for the "capture and use" of Carbon Dioxide, as, as can be intimated from: 

Wyoming U.S. Sen. Enzi backs bill for carbon dioxide capture credits; "A Wyoming U.S. senator is one of three legislators sponsoring a bill that would make it easier for companies to attain tax credits for capturing man-made carbon dioxide. Sen. Mike Enzi is co-sponsoring the bill, introduced by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., in September and co-sponsored by Sen. John “Jay” Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

The bill is aimed at encouraging the capture and use of the greenhouse gas ... .

“[Enzi] has been told on numerous occasions that the [carbon dioxide] tax credit law as written is not stimulating new technology and so he is working with Senators Conrad and Rockefeller to make changes”;

some prominent and genuinely responsible, truly loyal and patriotic, Coal Country legislators just might now be.

The technology to reclaim Carbon Dioxide from whatever source most convenient to us and, then, in processes which can be driven by environmental energy, to convert that Carbon Dioxide into needed hydrocarbon fuels, like substitute natural gas Methane, and into valuable chemical manufacturing raw materials - - that is, the technology for the "capture and use of the greenhouse gas" Carbon Dioxide - - is real, established and practicable.

And, everyone who struggles with the costs of buying hydrocarbon fuels; everyone who is concerned about the security of their Coal industry-related jobs; everyone who is concerned about the environment and the theorized influence of CO2 on global temperatures; and, every genuine United States patriot who is concerned about the energy and economic security of the United States of America, needs, deserves, to be told all about it.


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