United States Patent: 4149856


In two recent reports, which are now available on the West Virginia Coal Association's web site as:

USDOE Hydrogasifies Coal with Solar Power | Research & Development | News;


NASA Hydrogasifies Coal with Solar Power | Research & Development | News;

we documented how both NASA and the USDOE had each developed very similar technologies, both now almost three decades old, which enable the use of solar energy for, as each put it, respectively: "gasifying carbonaceous material" and "heating a piece of carbon ... with steam (and) thereby enabling formation of the gaseous fuel".

Both of the US Patents, specifying productive reactions between Coal and Steam, which we documented in those reports, were issued in the early 1980's; and, herein, we see that NASA and the USDOE might, in those developments, have only been following up on and refining somewhat earlier combined Coal and Steam solar-powered conversion technology that had been developed in Switzerland.

There is no corporate assignee named for the patent rights, and we have so far been unable to learn anything about the affiliations or credentials of the one named inventor.

However, our expert US Patent and Trademark examiners found enough validity in the technology disclosed to issue the United States Patent we submit herein.


Comment follows excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:


"United States Patent 4,149,856 - Producing a Gaseous Fuel by Means of Solar Energy


Date: April, 1979


Inventor: Willy Keller, Switzerland


Abstract: A gaseous fuel is produced, utilizing thermolysis and a water-gas reaction, by heating a piece of carbon through exposure to reflector-focused solar radiation and contacting it with steam.

Claims: A method for producing a gaseous fuel of the type wherein steam is brought into contact with red-hot carbon ... .

The production of water gas has long been known and used in the manufacture of fuel gas, steam being passed over glowing coal or coke. In this operation, the steam is reduced in an endothermic process, and a gaseous mixture composed of substantially equal parts of CO and H2 is produced.

(Hydrocarbon synthesis gas, by other names.)

The gaseous mixture produced in the apparatus described above is not necessarily pure water gas. Some of the hydrogen combines with carbon so that CH4 is produced in addition."



We close our excerpts here to further emphasize some facts, all of which we have previously documented:

One is that "steam" and "glowing coal" can be reacted together to generate Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen; which together comprise "syngas", which can be passed, for one example, over a Fischer-Tropsch catalyst and condensed into liquid hydrocarbons.

The advantage herein, as we explained in our reports of the above-noted USDOE and NASA technologies, is that environmental energy is harnessed, via solar heat, to the work of forcing the reaction between Steam and Coal to generate that hydrocarbon synthesis gas.

None of the Coal needs to be wasted, oxidized as in traditional Coal gasification technologies, in order to raise the temperature so that the Steam-Carbon reaction can proceed.

Since none of the Coal is oxidized for energy production, generation of Carbon Dioxide is minimized and utilization of the Coal, in the synthesis of the desired and intended hydrocarbons, is maximized.

Further, as well as Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen syngas, some "CH4", i.e., Methane, "is produced in addition".

Although Methane can, as we have documented, and as is recorded in the West Virginia Coal Association R&D archives, be directly converted, catalytically condensed, into liquid hydrocarbons; or, be recycled back into the syngas generation chamber for breakdown with the Coal and Steam into additional Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen synthesis gas; we remind you:

Methane, no matter where we get it, can be reacted, "bi-reformed" and "tri-reformed", as has been known, again as we have documented, to the petroleum industry and, through the Patent Office at least, our United States Government, since the years immediately after WWII, with Carbon Dioxide reclaimed from the atmosphere or industrial processes, and made thereby to synthesize higher hydrocarbons, including Methanol and Gasoline-range products.

Such facts, again as we have reported, have been more lately confirmed by scientists, such as Chunsan Song and Craig Grimes, at Penn State University.

Be nice to start seeing some of those facts reported and confirmed a lot more publicly.

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