We have, in the course of our dispatches over the past few years, frequently documented and referred to the achievements of South Africa in the conversion of Coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuels.
 
Their petrochemical giant, SASOL, South Africa Synthetic Oil Limited, operates multiple Coal liquefaction facilities, and supplies a large percentage of that nation's liquid fuel needs with them.
 
Since SASOL is a dominant force in South Africa's economy, and since Coal is one of that nation's most important natural resources, the various institutions of higher learning in South Africa have, to a greater or lesser degree, interacted with SASOL, exchanged personnel with them, and supported them with research and development.
 
Herein, we see that the University of Witwatersrand, through distinguished members of it's faculty, two of whom, Diane Hildebrandt and David Glasser, we have previously cited in our reports on Coal liquefaction technology, has taken that support to a level that could be of benefit to the entire world.
 
Certainly, it would be of great benefit to the United States, and, most certainly, to the individual states of US Coal Country, such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 
 
They have invented, and applied for a United States Patent on, a technology that serves to convert Carbon Dioxide into Gasoline.
 
Comment follows excerpts from the link to and attached file of:
 
"US Patent Application Publication No.: 2009/0317669 - Carbon Efficiencies in Hydrocarbon Production
 
Date: December 24, 2009
 
Inventors: Diane Hildebrandt, et. al., Johannesburg, South Africa
 
Abstract: This invention relates to a method of producing liquid hydrocarbons, preferably internal combustion engine fuels, using feedstocks of coal or methane.
 
Depending on the nature of the feedstock, it is subjected to a gasification and/or reforming process and/or water gas shift process which produces a syngas that is rich in carbon dioxide and hydrogen rather than carbon monoxide and hydrogen as in the conventional process.
 
The carbon dioxide and hydrogen are combined in a Fischer-Tropsch process to produce desired hydrocarbons.
 
The energy requirements (are) considerably less (than those) for producing the conventional carbon monoxide rich syngas.
 
This reduction in energy consumption reduces considerably the quantities of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere (and) CO2-rich syngas can be recirculated or can also be used, in molten carbonate fuel cells, or to generate energy or steam in turbine processes such as IGCC."
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Now, in point of fact, this SASOL process, as the inventors claim it, only reduces the amount of CO2 released from a liquid hydrocarbon fuel synthesis process based on Coal or Methane.
 
Some of that CO2 reduction comes from the fact that "energy requirements" for this process are "considerably less" than those already being practiced for converting Coal into liquid hydrocarbons.
 
But, they do confirm, in this early Christmas present from just last year, that Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen can be combined "to produce desired hydrocarbons".
 
That's a start. There are, though, a few things perhaps implied but left unsaid. 
 
First, or course, is that Carbon Dioxide can be had aplenty in the flue gasses of Coal-fired power plants.
 
And, if we do want to use elemental Hydrogen, we can obtain it via several processes, which we have already documented, and which we will further document, that are both economically feasible and environmentally "friendly". 
 
Moreover, if we wish to use Methane, instead of Coal, as the starting material, we can make plenty of that from Carbon Dioxide, via the 1912 Sabatier process now being upgraded and refined by NASA and the United States Department of Defense, and their contractors.
 
That all is, of course, if we don't want to just blow Steam over red hot Coal, which, again as we have thoroughly documented, will result in the production of absolutely plenty of syngas "that is" as above "rich in carbon dioxide and hydrogen".
 
In any case, this SASOL US Patent Applied-for technology illustrates just how advanced Coal liquefaction processes, in areas of the world outside those places that most deserve to know of them, has become.
 


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