United States Patent Application: 0140194539

Since the truth seems so out of fashion nowadays, we'll keep this particular exposition of it as brief as we reasonably can, so as not to offend too many people; and, so that everyone can get quickly back to what they seem to truly enjoy, such as amusing themselves with fantasies about the greater glories of shale gas and indulging themselves with impotent rants to their cloistered circle of like-minded colleagues about the evils of the US EPA and the EPA's carbon emission rules.

Carbon Dioxide, in sum, no matter what you've been told, no matter what you think you know, is a valuable raw material resource. 

 

CO2 can be harvested from whatever convenient reservoir of it we might have handy, even the atmosphere itself, and, then, in some cases in processes driven by freely-available environmental energy, Carbon Dioxide, in concert with Hydrogen extracted from the Water, H2O, molecule, can be converted into any and all sorts of both liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuels.

And, as we most recently documented, in our report of:

Saudi Arabia and Texas Improve CO2 to Syngas Catalysis | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,551,434 - Method of Forming a Syngas Mixture; October 8, 2013; Assignee: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Riyadh; Abstract: A method for making a syngas mixture is accomplished by introducing a gaseous feed mixture containing carbon dioxide and hydrogen into a reactor containing a non-zinc catalyst. The catalyst contacts the gaseous feed mixture to form syngas mixture reaction products";

Saudi Arabia not only knows that to be true, but, is now building a factory to demonstrate the truth of it on an industrial-scale commercial basis.

We've made many reports now concerning Saudi Arabia's development of Carbon Dioxide utilization technologies, and the above example contains additional links to some of them.

And, as we suggested in one of those reports, some day before long, you'll be kicking back in your lounge chair with your can of generic beer - - all you can afford since you got laid-off at the power plant or the Coal mine, and you have to save your pennies to buy OPEC/Big Oil gasoline for your spouse's rusted-out Vega, so that he or she can limp back and forth to their job at local convenience store - - and, you'll watch on TV as the first Royal Saudi tanker sails into New York harbor, right under the nose of the Statue of Liberty, it's holds filled with synthetic liquid hydrocarbon fuels made out of Carbon Dioxide.

If you think such an unpatriotic scenario is unrealistic - - is perhaps even insulting - -, consider, that, as seen in another of our reports:

Saudi Arabia 4th of July CO2 to Hydrocarbons | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130168966 - Method for Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Hydrocarbons; July 4, 2013; Inventors: Mazen Abdullah Ba-Abbad, et. al., Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Assignee: King Saud University, Riyadh; Abstract: The present invention relates to a method for converting carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons";

some folks don't have any problem, at all, rubbing our and Uncle Sam's noses right in it. In deference to charity, we admit that the above date of publication might have been deliberately selected by a lone patriot, or some small group of genuine patriots, working silently away in the bowels of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and trying to think of some way in which they could, with plausible deniability, alert the citizens of our nation to the frauds, relative to Carbon Dioxide, and relative to OPEC, that are being and are about to be perpetrated on them.

Sadly, it seems, no one who saw the caution flag, that alert, was cogent enough to recognize it for what it was - - although we, here, didn't think it to be all that subtle. Or, perhaps more likely, and more simply, as we here have come now to believe, nobody cares.

Someday, and soon, they will.

Herein, we learn that, just yesterday, July 10, 2014, our United States Government, while promulgating stuff like:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/18/2014-13726/carbon-pollution-emission-guidelines-for-existing-stationary-sources-electric-utility-generating; ""Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units; A Proposed Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency";

also published:

"United States Patent Application 20140194539 - Carbon Dioxide Conversion to Hydrocarbon Fuel via Syngas Production Cell Harnessed from Solar Radiation

CARBON DIOXIDE CONVERSION TO HYDROCARBON FUEL VIA SYNGAS PRODUCTION CELL HARNESSED FROM SOLAR RADIATION - Saudi Arabian Oil Co

Date: July 10, 2014

Inventors: Ahmad D. Hammad, et. al., Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Assignee: Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Dhahran

Abstract: A process for converting carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuels using solar energy harnessed with a solar thermal power system to create thermal energy and electricity, using the thermal energy to heat a fuel feed stream, the heated fuel feed stream comprising carbon dioxide and water, the carbon dioxide captured from a flue gas stream, converting the carbon dioxide and water in a syngas production cell, the syngas production cell comprising a solid oxide electrolyte, to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and converting the carbon monoxide and hydrogen to hydrocarbon fuels in a catalytic reactor. In at least one embodiment, the syngas production cell is a solid oxide fuel cell. In at least one embodiment, the syngas production cell is a solid oxide electrolyzer cell.

(Does the above sound familiar, at all, to anyone? Have a look, for just two examples, at our reports of:

More USDOE CO2 "Syntrolysis" | Research & Development | News; concerning: "'Co-Electrolysis of Steam and Carbon Dioxide for Production of Syngas'; Fifth International Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology Conference; July, 2007; J.E. O'Brien, C.M. Stoots, et. al.; Idaho National Laboratory, USDOE; and Ceramatec, Inc., Utah; Abstract: An experimental study has been completed to assess the performance of single-oxide electrolysis cells ... simultaneously electrolyzing steam and carbon dioxide for the direct production of syngas. A research project is underway at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to investigate the feasibility of producing syngas by simultaneous electrolytic reduction of steam and carbon dioxide ... .

Syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, can be used for the production of synthetic liquid fuels via Fischer-Tropsch processes. Conclusion: Based on the results obtained to date, coelectrolysis of steam and carbon dioxide for direct production of syngas appears to be a promising technology that could provide a possible path to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased energy independence, without the infrastructure shift that would be required for a hydrogen-based transportation system"; and:

USDOE Reforms Coal Syngas CO2 for Hydrocarbon Synthesis | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,366,902 - Methods and Systems for Producing Syngas; Date: February 5, 2013; Inventors: Grant Hawkes, et. al., Idaho; Assignee: Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, Idaho Falls; Abstract: Methods and systems are provided for producing syngas utilizing heat from thermochemical conversion of a carbonaceous fuel to support decomposition of at least one of water and carbon dioxide using one or more solid-oxide electrolysis cells. Simultaneous decomposition of carbon dioxide and water or steam by one or more solid-oxide electrolysis cells may be employed to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide. A portion of oxygen produced from at least one of water and carbon dioxide using one or more solid-oxide electrolysis cells is fed at a controlled flow rate in a gasifier or combustor to oxidize the carbonaceous fuel to control the carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide ratio produced. Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under Contract Number DE-AC07-05ID14517 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention. Claims: A method for forming syngas, comprising: producing heat and a mixed gas comprising carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water and hydrogen by gasifying a carbonaceous fuel; condensing the mixed gas to remove at least one impurity from the mixed gas and to generate a feed stream; after the condensing act, transferring the heat produced by gasifying the carbonaceous fuel to the feed stream to convert at least a portion of the water in the feed stream to steam; introducing the feed stream to at least one solid-oxide electrolysis cell; electrolyzing carbon dioxide and steam in the feed stream in at least one solid-oxide electrolysis cell to produce carbon monoxide, hydrogen and oxygen; and separating the carbon monoxide and hydrogen from the oxygen. The method ... further comprising transferring heat from the carbon monoxide, hydrogen and oxygen produced in the at least one solid-oxide electrolysis cell to the feed stream. ... The method ... wherein producing heat and a mixed gas comprising carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water and hydrogen by gasifying a carbonaceous fuel comprises gasifying the carbonaceous fuel in the presence of a portion of the oxygen formed by electrolyzing carbon dioxide and steam to control a ratio of carbon monoxide and hydrogen produced by electrolyzing the carbon dioxide and the steam. Embodiments of the present invention relate, generally, to the production of syngas and, more particularly, to methods and systems for producing syngas from a carbonaceous fuel, such as biomass (and) coal ... by utilizing the heat from thermochemical conversion of the carbonaceous fuel to support electrolysis of steam and/or co-electrolysis of steam and carbon dioxide in one or more solid-oxide electrolysis cells. ... A known process for conversion of (alternative) energy resources to cleaner fuels includes synthetic fuels, often referred to as "synfuels," which are made from synthesis gas, often referred to as "syngas." Syngas includes a mixture of varying amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) that may be converted to form hydrogen, synfuels, methanol or chemicals. Production of synfuels from syngas may be performed using a variety of processes including a Fischer-Tropsch process to convert the carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. The synfuels produced using the Fischer-Tropsch process may include high purity, low sulfur, fuels, often referred to as "Fischer-Tropsch liquids," which have fewer pollutants than naturally occurring fuels or fuels processed from naturally occurring oil deposits".

The primary difference, as we see it, between the Saudi CO2-recycling technology being disclosed herein by the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, and the "syntrolysis" tech developed by our own USDOE in projects paid for by our public tax money, is, that, Saudi Arabia will most probably start using their technology for recycling Carbon Dioxide while, we, even in the Coal Country press and in our Coal industry web sites, avoid even just talking about it almost totally.

What is it, do you suppose? Are we just scared of anything new and different? Are we too used to, and maybe even co-opted into, the status quo? Keep in mind that some folks in the public media make a living out of making public gripes, out of whining about the way things are. And, that's one heck of a lot easier, and less risky, than pulling their lazy hands out from under their dead cans and getting to work actually trying to make a real difference. Maybe no one has the ambition, or the guts, to step out from the herd.

Or, are the old stereotypes somehow unbelievably true, and, we, in Coal Country, just aren't sharp enough to see, to realize and understand, what's really going on here?)

Claims: A process for converting carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuels using solar energy, the process comprising the steps of: receiving direct sunlight with a plurality of heliostats and reflecting the direct sunlight from the heliostats as reflected sunlight onto a tower receiver, wherein the reflected sunlight heats a heat transfer fluid in the tower receiver; converting a water stream to a generated steam stream in a steam generator, wherein the heat transfer fluid provides heat to the steam generator; feeding the generated steam stream to a steam turbine, wherein the steam turbine converts thermal energy in the generated steam stream to mechanical energy to drive an electric generator to generate electricity; heating a fuel feed stream by transferring thermal energy from the heat transfer fluid to create a heated fuel feed stream, such that the heated fuel feed stream reaches a temperature of between 650 C and 800 C; feeding the heated fuel feed stream to a syngas production cell, wherein the heated fuel feed stream comprises carbon dioxide and water, wherein the carbon dioxide is captured from a flue gas stream; converting the carbon dioxide and water in the heated fuel feed stream to carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the syngas production cell to produce a syngas stream, wherein the syngas production cell comprises a solid oxide electrolyte; feeding the syngas stream to a catalytic reactor, wherein the catalytic reactor operates in the presence of a catalyst; and converting the syngas stream to a hydrocarbon fuel stream in the catalytic reactor.

The process ... wherein the syngas production cell comprises a solid oxide electrolyzer cell, wherein the solid oxide electrolyzer cell comprises a porous cathode, the solid oxide electrolyte, and a porous anode (and) wherein the step of converting the carbon dioxide and water in the heated fuel feed stream to carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the syngas production cell further comprises the steps of: supplying the electricity to the porous cathode of the solid oxide electrolyzer cell; contacting the porous cathode with the heated fuel feed stream; reducing the carbon dioxide to create carbon monoxide and oxygen ions, wherein the oxygen ions pass through the porous cathode to the solid oxide electrolyte; reducing the water to create hydrogen and oxygen ions, wherein the oxygen ions pass through the porous cathode to the solid oxide electrolyte; diffusing the oxygen ions through the solid oxide electrolyte to the porous anode; and releasing electrons from the oxygen ions at the porous anode, such that oxygen molecules are formed to create an oxygen stream.

The process ... wherein the syngas production cell comprises a solid oxide fuel cell, wherein the solid oxide fuel cell comprises a porous anode, the solid oxide electrolyte, and a porous cathode (and)  wherein the step of converting the carbon dioxide and water in the heated fuel feed stream to carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the syngas production cell further comprises the steps of: adding a gaseous hydrocarbon to the heated fuel feed stream, wherein the gaseous hydrocarbon; feeding the heated fuel feed stream to the porous anode of the solid oxide fuel cell; reforming the water and the gaseous hydrocarbon in the heated fuel feed stream to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen; reforming the carbon dioxide and the gaseous hydrocarbon in the heated fuel feed stream to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen; reducing oxygen from an oxygen supply on the porous cathode of the solid oxide fuel cell to generate oxygen ions; diffusing the oxygen ions through the solid oxide electrolyte to the porous anode; oxidizing the hydrogen at the porous anode with the oxygen ions to create water and electrons; oxidizing the methane at the porous anode with the oxygen ions to create carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and electrons; and supplying the electrons to an electrical substation, wherein the electrical substation is configured to combine the electrons from the syngas production cell with the electricity generated by the electric generator.

The process ... wherein the gaseous hydrocarbon comprises methane.

(With the specification for the inclusion of "methane" - - although it doesn't seem to be absolutely necessary, and generally isn't called for in the USDOE's closely-similar "syntrolysis" technologies - - with the Carbon Dioxide and the Steam, this becomes more like a "tri-reforming" process, an innovative version of which is discussed in our report of:

Exxon 1993 CO2 + CH4 + H2O = Hydrocarbon Syngas | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 5,266,175 - Conversion of Methane, Carbon Dioxide and Water using Microwave Radiation; 1993; Assignee: Exxon Research and Engineering Company; Abstract: A mixture of methane, water and carbon dioxide can be effectively converted to carbon monoxide and hydrogen by subjecting the mixture to microwave radiation in the presence of at least one plasma initiator that is capable of initiating an electric discharge in an electromagnetic field".)

A system to convert carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuels using solar energy, the system comprising: a solar thermal power system configured to convert solar energy to thermal energy and electricity, the solar thermal power system being in thermal communication with a syngas production cell, wherein the syngas production cell is configured to receive thermal energy from the solar thermal power system; the syngas production cell comprises a fuel side comprising a fuel inlet configured to receive a fuel feed stream and a fuel outlet configured to receive a syngas stream, and an oxygen side comprising an oxygen outlet configured to receive an oxygen stream, wherein the fuel feed stream comprises carbon dioxide and water, wherein the syngas production cell is configured to convert the carbon dioxide and water into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, the carbon monoxide and hydrogen operable to form the syngas stream; and a catalytic reactor fluidly connected to the fuel side of the syngas production cell, the catalytic reactor being configured to convert the syngas stream from the fuel side of the syngas production cell to a hydrocarbon fuel stream, the catalytic reactor comprising a reactor bed, the reactor bed comprising a catalyst and a distributor, wherein the catalytic reactor is configured to operate from 250 C to 650 C.

The system ... wherein the syngas production cell comprises a solid oxide electrolyzer cell.

(For some further introduction to such "solid oxide electrolyzer cell"s, see our report of:

USDOE Idaho Lab Recycles More CO2 | Research & Development | News; concerning: "Model of High Temperature H2O/CO2 Co-electrolysis; 2007; Report Number: INL/CON-07-12092; DOE Contract: DE-AC07-99ID-13727; Research Organization: Idaho National Laboratory (INL); Sponsoring Organization: USDOE; Abstract: A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model has been created to model high temperature co-electrolysis of steam and carbon dioxide in a planar solid oxide electrolyzer (SOE) using solid oxide fuel cell technology. A research program is under way at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to simultaneously address the research and scale-up issues associated with the implementation of planar solid-oxide electrolysis cell technology for syngas production from CO2 and steam".).

The system ... wherein the solid oxide electrolyzer cell comprises: a porous cathode in fluid communication with the fuel side of the syngas production cell, the porous cathode having a fuel side of the porous cathode configured to transfer electrons to the fuel feed stream, such that carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and oxygen ions are produced, and an electrolyte side configured to release the oxygen ions into a solid oxide electrolyte, wherein the porous cathode is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions; a porous anode in fluid communication with the oxygen side of the syngas production cell, the porous anode comprising an electrolyte side configured to receive oxygen ions from the solid oxide electrolyte, and an outlet side configured to convert oxygen ions to oxygen molecules to form an oxygen stream, wherein the porous anode is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions; the solid oxide electrolyte, the solid oxide electrolyte lies between the porous cathode and the porous anode, wherein the solid oxide electrolyte is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions; and an electron supply, wherein the electricity from the solar thermal power system provides the electron supply to the porous cathode and accepts electrons from the porous anode.

The system ...  wherein the porous cathode and the porous anode are selected from the group consisting of nickel/yttria-stabilized zirconia (Ni-YSZ), Lanthanum Strontium Manganese Oxide-YSZ (LSM-YSZ), and a ceramic oxide of perovskite.

The system ... wherein the solid oxide fuel cell comprises: a porous anode in fluid communication with the fuel side of the syngas production cell, the porous anode comprising a fuel side of the porous anode configured to accept electrons, such that the methane undergoes an oxidation reaction to form carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and electrons, and an electrolyte side configured to accept oxygen ions from a solid oxide electrolyte, wherein the porous anode is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions, wherein the methane and water react in the presence of the fuel side of the porous anode to generate carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and wherein the methane and carbon dioxide react in the presence of the fuel side of the porous anode to generate carbon monoxide and hydrogen; a porous cathode in fluid communication with the oxygen side of the syngas production cell, the porous cathode comprising an outlet side configured to convert oxygen into oxygen ions and an electrolyte side configured to release oxygen ions into the solid oxide electrolyte, wherein the porous cathode is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions; and the solid oxide electrolyte, the solid oxide electrolyte lies between the porous cathode and the porous anode, wherein the solid oxide electrolyte is configured to allow passage of oxygen ions.

The system ... wherein the solar thermal power system comprises a tower concentrating solar power system, the tower concentrating solar power system comprising: a tower receiver configured to heat a heat transfer fluid; a plurality of heliostats in proximity to the tower receiver, wherein the heliostats are configured to receive direct sunlight and reflect the direct sunlight from the heliostats as reflected sunlight onto the tower receiver; a hot storage tank fluidly connected to the tower receiver, the hot storage tank configured to store the heat transfer fluid; a steam generator fluidly connected to the hot storage tank, the steam generator configured to transfer heat from the heat transfer fluid to a water stream to create a generated steam stream; a steam turbine fluidly connected to the steam generator, wherein the generated steam stream is configured to drive the steam turbine; and an electric generator mechanically connected to the steam turbine, wherein the steam generator is configured to drive the electric generator to create electricity.

(The above is where we, here, personally, start to have some problems with this technology. The solar energy collection and delivery system they're describing herein, one using "heliostats", is one which would be similar to that seen in:

How to Stop Solar-Power Plants From Incinerating Birds - Todd Woody - The Atlantic; "'How to Stop Solar-Power Plants From Incinerating Birds'; A federal report calls California's Ivanpah solar power plant a "mega-trap" for wildlife";

that, although it has horrific - and terribly saddening for anyone who has seen the pictures of immolated and, perhaps worse, partially-immolated birds - effects on wildlife, is still defended as being somehow "green", and therefore more desirable than our more conventional means of generating power. There are other ways in which solar energy can be utilized in Carbon Dioxide recycling processes. And, unless some way can be found to reliably protect wildlife from the effects of these sorts of devices, we would think those solar energy alternatives would be far more preferable to that being disclosed herein. Consider, though, that they might not share our sensitivities in Saudi Arabia.)

The system ... further comprising a carbon capture system configured to capture carbon dioxide from a flue gas stream to create a carbon dioxide stream, the carbon capture system in fluid communication with a power plant, wherein the power plant is configured to produce the flue gas stream.

(As far as capturing "carbon dioxide from a flue gas stream to create a carbon dioxide stream", see, for only one example, our report of:

GE Improves Coal Flue Gas/Coal Syngas CO2 Capture Efficiency | Research & Development | News; concerning, in part: "United States Patent 8,747,694- Carbon Dioxide Absorbent and Method of Using Same; 2014; Assignee: General Electric Company, NY; Government Interests: This invention was made with Government support under grant number DE-NT0005310 awarded by the Department of Energy-NETL. The Government has certain rights in the invention. (The) present invention provides a method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in a process stream comprising contacting the stream with a carbon dioxide absorbent comprising at least one amino-siloxane having structures (as defined and specified in the full Disclosure). The process stream (from which CO2 is to be extracted) is typically gaseous, but may contain solid or liquid particulates, and may be at a wide range of temperatures and pressures, depending on the application. In one embodiment, the process stream may be a process stream from industries, such as chemical industries, cement industries, steel industries, flue gases from a power plant, and the like. In one embodiment, the process stream may be a fuel stream (such as) a syngas stream. In yet another embodiment, the process stream is selected from the group consisting of a combustion process (or) a gasification process". )

Background and Field: This invention relates to a process and system for the capture of waste gas and the conversion of the waste gas to hydrocarbon fuel. More specifically, this invention relates to a process and system for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) and subsequently converting the CO2 and H2O to hydrocarbon fuel harnessing solar energy.

The use of fossil fuels for power generation grows increasingly problematic. First, petroleum consumption has increased even as world-wide petroleum reserves have declined. For example, Saudi Arabia's domestic petroleum consumption due to power generation is expected to be 8 million barrels/day by 2028, which means a reduction of the quantities available for export. Second, concerns about air quality may result in stringent regulations such as a carbon tax aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Given Saudi Arabia's abundant quantities of solar radiation energy, solar power capture coupled with solar storage represents an opportunity to address both issues. Conventional solar storage and capture systems include photovoltaics and solar thermal systems.

Photovoltaics convert solar energy into electrical current due to the photovoltaic effect of certain substances, such as silicon or organic solar materials. Photovoltaics are capital intensive, but excellent for small scale electricity generation, for example, homes, outdoor lights, highway signs. For larger systems, such as those that contribute to the electricity grid, solar thermal systems, or concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, are preferred. Existing CSP systems include, for example, the linear Fresnel reflector system, the trough system, the dish system, and the tower system.

CSP systems convert solar radiation energy into thermal energy using heliostats. Heliostats are mirrors, typically flat, which are mounted such that they move on an axis to track the movement of the sun during daylight hours. Heliostats concentrate the solar radiation (sunlight) onto a receiver, which uses the thermal energy from the solar radiation to heat a working fluid. The working fluid, a heat transfer fluid, such as water (H2O) or molten salt, exits the heliostat/receiver system where it exchanges heat with H2O to generate steam. When H2O is the working fluid, the steam is generated directly from the heated working fluid. The steam runs a steam turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity.

All CSPs operate under the same basic principles, the differences lie in the shape and layout of the heliostats and the spatial relationship of the heliostats to the receiver. For example, in a linear Fresnel reflector system, the heliostats are long flat tracks of mirrors. The receiver is a tube fixed in space above the mirrors. A trough system uses parabolic mirrors and a tube positioned along the focal line of the reflectors, requiring a large number of reflectors. Dish system CSPs also use parabolic shaped reflectors; a large parabolic dish covered in mirrors directs sunlight to a receiver mounted on the dish along the focal line of the mirrors. A dish system CSP produces relatively little electricity compared to other CSP systems. Tower system CSPs employ large numbers of heliostats typically arrayed in lines. The receiver sits on the top of a tall tower and the heliostats focus the solar energy onto the receiver. A tower CSP is capable of producing up to 200 megawatts of electricity.

In addition to the ability to generate large amounts of electricity, another advantage of solar thermal systems over photovoltaics is the ability to store thermal energy in the working fluid. The working fluids may be stored in tanks until the thermal energy is needed for electricity generation. Thus, allowing generation even when there is no direct sunlight, such as at night or in stormy weather. Even still, the storage of a working fluid is not a long term solution, due to the size of the tanks needed for storage and eventual heat loss. Thus, the conversion of solar thermal energy to fuel is an attractive alternative.

The emission of CO2 into the atmosphere is increasingly under attack. Carbon capture technologies are being explored as a way to remove and store the CO2 from waste gas. Carbon capture technologies are broadly categorized as to whether the capture technology is post-combustion, pre-combustion, or oxyfuel combustion. Post-combustion technologies typically include solvent capture systems, which use a solvent to absorb CO2 from a waste gas stream and then use heat to remove the absorbed CO2 from the solvent stream. The resulting stream is a nearly pure stream of CO2. Post-combustion technologies are commonly used with fossil fuel burning power plants. Other post-combustions technologies include, for example, calcium looping cycle or chemical looping combustion.

Current storage (or sequestration) schemes most commonly include geological sequestration, in which the carbon is stored in underground formations. Depleted oilfields, unmineable coal deposits, and saline formations provide naturally occurring formations appropriate for the storage of CO2. These formations, however, suffer from setbacks including, for example, their locations, the costs to inject the CO2 into the ground, and the concerns about leakage out of the formation at some later point.

An alternative to sequestration of CO2 is to convert the CO2 to other useful components. One way to achieve conversion is using a fuel cell to convert the CO2 with the added benefit of generating electricity. Fuel cells contain three sections: an anode, a cathode, and an electrolyte. Redox reactions occur at the anode and the cathode. In many cases, the overall effect is to convert H2O to hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2).

Fuel cells are categorized by their electrolyte. One category of fuel cells uses a solid oxide electrolyte. Solid oxide fuel cells reduce oxygen on the cathode side, a current is applied to the cathode so that it is negatively charged and conductive. The oxygen ions diffuse through the cathode, the solid oxide electrolyte, and the anode so that oxidation reactions occur on the anode side. The oxidation reactions generate electrons which can be carried through the anode to generate an electricity supply. The anode, cathode, and solid oxide electrolyte of solid oxide fuel cells are composed of ceramic materials and operated at temperatures above 500 C. to ensure the proper functioning of the ceramic materials. The ceramic materials can be porous. Porosity is not required for the passage of oxygen ions from the electrode to the electrolyte. The porosity of the anode impacts the electrolyte/electrode/gas interface area (three phase boundaries), and thus impacts oxygen ion formation rate. The porosity also enhances the diffusivity of molecular oxygen from the gas phase to the three phase boundaries. Solid oxide fuel cells have been shown to have high efficiencies.

A solid oxide fuel cell run in a "regenerative" mode is often called a solid oxide electrolysis cells. Solid oxide electrolysis cells electrolyze components by a reduction process on the cathode side, thus capturing oxygen ions, which diffuse through the cathode, the solid oxide electrolyte, and the anode to form oxygen molecules on the anode side of the cell. The electrolysis of H2O is endothermic, thus the high operating temperatures of a solid oxide electrolysis cell make the electrolysis reaction thermodynamically favored. In addition, the high temperature increases the kinetics of the reaction. High temperature electrolysis has the advantage of high conversion efficiency, above 90% conversion of CO2 is expected according to some estimates.

The present invention relates to a process and system for the capture of waste gas and the conversion of the waste gas to hydrocarbon fuel. More specifically, this invention relates to a process and system for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) and subsequently converting the CO2 and H2O to hydrocarbon fuel harnessing solar energy.

In one aspect of the present invention, a process for converting carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuels using solar energy is provided.

The process includes the steps of receiving direct sunlight with a plurality of heliostats and reflecting the direct sunlight from the heliostats as reflected sunlight onto a tower receiver, where the reflected sunlight heats a heat transfer fluid in the tower receiver, converting a water stream to a generated steam stream in a steam generator, where the heat transfer fluid provides heat to the steam generator. The generated steam stream is fed to a steam turbine, the steam turbine converts thermal energy in the generated steam stream to mechanical energy to drive an electric generator to generate electricity. The process further includes the steps of heating a fuel feed stream by transferring thermal energy from the heat transfer fluid to create a heated fuel feed stream, such that the heated fuel feed stream reaches a temperature of between 650 C and 800 C, feeding the heated fuel feed stream to a syngas production cell, where the heated fuel feed stream includes carbon dioxide and water, wherein the carbon dioxide is captured from a flue gas stream, converting the carbon dioxide and water in the heated fuel feed stream to carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the syngas production cell to produce a syngas stream, wherein the syngas production cell includes a solid oxide electrolyte, feeding the syngas stream to a catalytic reactor, wherein the catalytic reactor operates in the presence of a catalyst, and converting the syngas stream to a hydrocarbon fuel stream in the catalytic reactor".

------------------------------

This Saudi CO2-to-Syngas innovation, like the USDOE's "syntrolysis" technology, as referenced in our  introductory comments, appears to us a combination of both electrolytic techniques, as represented for one example by our report of:

New Jersey May 13, 2014, CO2 to Hydrocarbon Synthesis Gas | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,721,866- Electrochemical Production of Synthesis Gas from Carbon Dioxide; 2014; Inventors: Narayanappa Sivasankar, Emily Barton Cole, Kyle Teamey, NJ and DC; Assignee: Liquid Light, Inc., NJ; Abstract: A method for electrochemical production of synthesis gas from carbon dioxide is disclosed. The method generally includes steps (A) to (C). Step (A) may bubble the carbon dioxide into a solution of an electrolyte and a catalyst in a divided electrochemical cell. The divided electrochemical cell may include an anode in a first cell compartment and a cathode in a second cell compartment. The cathode generally reduces the carbon dioxide into a plurality of components. Step (B) may establish a molar ratio of the components in the synthesis gas by adjusting at least one of (i) a cathode material and (ii) a surface morphology of the cathode. Step (C) may separate the synthesis gas from the solution";

and thermal techniques, as represented for one example by our report of:

USDOE Solar Thermochemical CO2-to-Fuel | Research & Development | News; concerning: "Solar Fuel Production Through The Thermochemical Decomposition of Carbon Dioxide; Nathan P. Siegel, et. al.,  Sandia National Laboratories (USDOE), Albuquerque, NM USA; Abstract: Solar energy systems based on an intermittent resource benefit from an energy storage mechanism that decouples the solar resource from the load, enabling operation when the resource is unavailable. For utility scale power plants this is achieved with thermal energy storage (TES) systems incorporating significant volumes (some larger than 106 liters) of inorganic salts. Storing solar energy in the form of chemical fuels offers another more energy dense storage mechanism that enables the utilization of solar energy to address the energy needs of the transportation sector. Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems are capable of operating at the elevated temperatures needed to drive thermochemical reactions that convert the stable combustion products, carbon dioxide and water, first into synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and then into liquid hydrocarbon fuels such as methanol, gasoline, and jet fuel";

for converting Carbon Dioxide and Water, or Water vapor, H2O, into a synthesis gas blend of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen, with Oxygen as a by-product.  And, which CO-H2 synthesis gas can then, as seen for one example in:

Bayer Improves Fischer-Tropsch Hydrocarbon Synthesis | Research & Development | News; concerning: "US Patent 8,557,880 - Multi-stage Adiabatic Method for Performing the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis; 2013; Assignee: Bayer Intellectual Property GmbH, Germany; Abstract: The present invention relates to a multistage adiabatic process for performing the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis at low temperatures, in which the synthesis is performed in 5 to 40 series-connected reaction zones under adiabatic conditions. Claims: Process for preparing liquid hydrocarbons from the process gases carbon monoxide and hydrogen, comprising a Fischer-Tropsch synthesis";

be chemically and catalytically condensed into "liquid hydrocarbons" via the now nearly ancient "Fischer-Tropsch" process, which was one of the technologies used by Germany during WWII to indirectly convert her domestic Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

In any case, while we in United States Coal Country can't seem to even openly and broadly admit that such Carbon Dioxide utilization technologies - - which technologies could free us all from dependence on imported oil and which could also make Cap and Trade carbon taxes plainly the obvious extortions they are - - even exist, much less discuss their existence and merits in our community media, Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with their continuous improvement of those CO2-utilization technologies, making ready to reduce them to commercial, industrial practice, and, sharpening their knives and forks so that they can eat even more of our lunch.


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