Process and apparatus for the production of useful fuel gas

We've made numerous reports over the past few years documenting the Coal conversion expertise that, for many decades, resided, quietly and unheralded, in one of the very hearts of US Coal Country.

In one of those reports, as accessible via:

Pittsburgh Company Coal Conversion Technology | Research & Development;

we submitted rather extensive information concerning the history of the Koppers Company, Incorporated, which was, prior to their ultimate assimilation into the German conglomerate, Uhde Gmbh, headquartered in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

In that dispatch, we included, among multiple references we cited, a link to one of Koppers' own publications concerning their Coal conversion technology:

"Economics of the Koppers K-T Gasification Process for Synthetic Gas and Chemical Manufacture", which revealed that, since 1952, 39 of their Coal gasifiers had been installed around the world, including in South Africa, where they are being used, as Koppers specifies in that report, to produce the liquid fuel, Methanol; and, that, their "commercially proven Koppers K-T gasification process is employed for the gasification of coal and other carbonaceous fuels to produce a carbon monoxide and hydrogen rich gas".

As an aside, we will be referring to that specific report again in the future, since there is an extensive, very extensive, body of research and development literature available to us, all of it originating from within our US domestic petroleum industry, which details the precise and various ways in which such blends of "carbon monoxide and hydrogen" can be catalytically transformed into, quite literally, anything that virtually everyone now believes has to be pumped up out of a well.

In that extensive body of literature, however, our beloved Big Oil is scrupulous, even meticulous, in his avoidance of any explanation as to where such Hydrogen-Carbon Monoxide blends might come from.

We now, however, will know.

Koppers, justifiably, was proud of their Coal conversion achievements, and, prior to their assimilation by Uhde, didn't themselves have any problem, with US Government certification of the facts, in telling everyone just how we could manufacture such blends of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen, i.e., hydrocarbon synthesis gas, as in our report:

Pittsburgh Coal and CO2 to Hydrocarbons | Research & Development; which concerned: "United States Patent 4,265,868 - Production of Carbon Monoxide by the Gasification of Carbonaceous Materials; 1981; Inventor: John Kamody, Irwin, PA; Assignee: Kopppers Company, Incorporated, Pittsburgh".

In the Disclosure of US Patent 4,265,868, Koppers reveals how the operation of their Coal gasification process can be "adjusted", so as to produce more, or less, Carbon Monoxide, relative to Hydrogen, through a technology that enables Carbon Dioxide obtained from an external source, we suggested an Iron City (r) brewery, to be imported into it, for reaction with hot Coal and conversion into the desired Carbon Monoxide.

That potential, to use Coal gasification as a means to recycle and utilize Carbon Dioxide, interestingly, was, as well, a feature of the original Coal gasification technology upon which the Koppers international Coal gasification business was founded; as seen in our excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"United States Patent 2,302,156 - Process and Apparatus for the Production of Useful Fuel Gas

Date: November, 1942

Inventor: Friedrich Totzek, Germany

Assignee: Koppers Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract: This invention relates to the production of fuel gas or high heating power out of dusty of finely granular fuels, such as black or brown coal, or coke or semi-coke made therefrom, the fuel being converted at a high temperature with air (oxygen), steam and carbon dioxide whereby a gas is produced which is rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

(Note: Their specified use of "oxygen", as an alternate to plain "air", is a subject we have addressed previously. Use of Oxygen would prevent formation of unwanted Nitrogen Oxides, and thereby promote energy efficiency as well as reduce the pollution potential. And, we are prompted to remind you of just where we might get purified Oxygen, as in our report of:

USDOE Algae Make Hydrogen for Coal and CO2 Hydrogenation | Research & Development; concerning the: "Photosynthetic Hydrogen and Oxygen Production by Green Algae; 1999; USDOE; Photosynthesis research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is focused on hydrogen and oxygen production by green algae in the context of its potential as a renewable fuel and chemical feed stock";

wherein it is seen that "bio-reactors" can be constructed and employed wherein certain, known strains of Green Algae can be cultivated; and, when fed the CO2-laden exhaust gas from Coal-fired power plants, will, alternatively, during shifting periods of light and dark, produce both Hydrogen, which can be used, as seen in one earlier report: .

NASA Rocket Fuel from CO2 | Research & Development; wherein we're told by our National Aeronautics and Space Administration that: "methane can be manufactured ... via the Sabatier process: Mix some carbon dioxide (CO2) with hydrogen (H), then heat the mixture to produce CH4 and H20 -- methane and water";

to convert more Carbon Dioxide, recovered from whatever handy source, into Methane; and the Oxygen, required by the process herein of "United States Patent 2,302,156" to prevent the wasteful co-production of Nitrogen Oxides during the gasification reaction of Coal with Steam, and more Carbon Dioxide, to make hydrocarbon synthesis gas.)

The present invention has for its principal object to produce a high grade fuel gas out of dusty of finely granular fuels in such a manner that part of the produced fuel gas ... is burnt with oxygen ... and the combustion gases of high temperature are mixed with the fuel dust, whereupon the mixture is treated with steam.

(Note that the temperature needed to achieve the necessary reaction between Carbon, Steam and Carbon Dioxide is obtained by the partial combustion of the Coal, which, of course, will generate some Carbon Dioxide of it's own. We submit that the process could be made much more productive if some source of Carbon-free environmental energy were used for the initial heating of the Coal, in a way that didn't involve combustion of any sort. Such is certainly possible, as seen in:

USDOE Hydrogasifies Coal with Solar Power | Research & Development; which concerns: "United States Patent 4,415,339 - Solar Coal Gasification Reactor; 1983; Assignee: The USA, as represented by the Department of Energy; Coal (or other carbonaceous matter, such as biomass) is converted into a duct gas that is substantially free from hydrocarbons. The coal is fed into a solar reactor, and solar energy is directed into the reactor onto coal char, creating a gasification front and a pyrolysis front. A gasification zone is produced well above the coal level within the reactor. A pyrolysis zone is produced immediately above the coal level. Steam, injected into the reactor adjacent to the gasification zone, reacts with char to generate product gases. Solar energy supplies the energy for the endothermic steam-char reaction. The hot product gases  flow from the gasification zone to the pyrolysis zone to generate hot char. Gases are withdrawn from the pyrolysis zone and reinjected into the region of the reactor adjacent the gasification zone. This eliminates hydrocarbons in the gas by steam reformation on the hot char. The product gas is withdrawn from a region of the reactor between the gasification zone and the pyrolysis zone. The product gas will be free of tar and other hydrocarbons, and thus be suitable for use in many processes."

Other non-carbon options exist for heating the Coal to reaction temperature, as well, including the use of electric resistance heating, wherein the electricity could be derived from Wind or Hydro sources. We've documented some of those potentials previously, and will further document them in some reports to follow, including one such technology originating, just as our subject "United States Patent 2,302,156", in Pittsburgh, PA.)

Claims: A process for producing fuel gas of high calorific value from ... black or brown coal (by reacting) the solid fuel with CO2 ... and completing the conversion by treating the same with steam ... to produce a gas rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide."


And, as suggested in:

Fischer–Tropsch process - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; which tells us that: "The Fischer-Tropsch process (or Fischer–Tropsch Synthesis) is a set of chemical reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons";

such a "gas rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide", made, as herein, via the process of our subject "United States Patent 2,302,156", from Steam, Coal and Carbon Dioxide, a process invented at the headwaters of the Ohio River, might be just what we need to make all of our very own "liquid hydrocarbons" that our patriotic and noble hearts desire; and, to, thereby, chase all of our US domestic economic blues, especially those blues that have settled in along the valleys of the Ohio River and its tributaries, away.

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