United States Patent: 8729798

Both Coal and Carbon Dioxide can be efficiently converted directly into synthetic petroleum, into fuels and chemicals ordinarily derived from petroleum, and into synthetic natural gas.

Those facts are irrefutable since, as we've documented many time, that is all being done, right now, though totally unreported publicly to us in United States Coal Country, in other nations of the world.

 

As we've also documented, as for just several examples in:

USDOE 1976 Coal to 8 Cents per Gallon Crude Oil | Research & Development | News; concerning:"United States Patent 3,963,598 - Flash Hydrogenation of Coal; 1976; Inventors: B. Manowitz, Meyer Steinberg, et. al., New York; Assignee: The United States Energy Research and Development Administration (Brookhaven National Laboratory); Abstract: A process for the hydrogenation of coal comprising the contacting of powdered coal with hydrogen ... . The coal residence time in the reactor is limited to less than 5 seconds while the hydrogen contact time is not in excess of 0.2 seconds. Government Interests: This invention was made during the course of, or under a contract with the United States Atomic Energy Commission. Claims:  A process for the hydrogenation of coal to maximize the production of liquid hydrocarbons, comprising contacting in a rotating fluidized bed substantially dry powdered coal having a particle size (as specified) with hydrogen gas at temperatures (and conditions specified). Background and Description: Previous experimental work has shown that coal can be converted to gaseous and liquid hydrocarbon products, such as methane, aromatic liquids, olefins, and aliphatics by means of high temperature, high pressure contact of coal with hydrogen"; and:

North Dakota Converts Coal and Biomass to Gasoline for USDOE | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130338411 - Liquefaction of Carbonaceous Material and Biomass to Produce a Synthetic Fuel; 2013; Inventor: Ramesh K. Sharma (University of North Dakota); Abstract: The present invention relates to production of fuels from carbonaceous material and biomass. Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-0SNT43291 ... . The government has certain rights in this invention. Claims; A method of liquefaction of carbonaceous material and biomass, comprising: providing or obtaining a feed mixture, the mixture comprising carbonaceous material and biomass; and subjecting the feed mixture to liquefaction, to provide a product slurry; wherein the carbonaceous material comprises a nonpetroleum fossil fuel (and) wherein the carbonaceous material comprises coal, coal tar, wax from a FT process ... or a combination thereof. The method ... wherein the coal comprises lignite, brown coal, jet coal, subbituminous coal, bituminous coal, steel coal, anthracite, graphite, or a combination thereof (and) wherein the biomass comprises plant-derived oil, algae-derived oil, biomass pyrolysis oil, waste oil, yellow grease, brown grease, tar, or animal fat (and) wherein the mass ratio of carbonaceous material to biomass is about 0.01-10 to 1. The method ... wherein the mixture further comprises solvent (and) wherein the solvent comprises a carbonaceous material-derived heavy liquid. The method ... wherein the liquefaction comprises direct liquefaction (and) wherein subjecting the feed mixture to liquefaction comprises contacting the feed mixture with a liquefaction catalyst and hydrogen gas at a temperature of about 200 to about 600 C, at a pressure of about 50 to about 300 atm."; and:

USDOE Converts Atmospheric CO2 into Gasoline | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20100205856 - Method of Producing Synthetic Fuels and Organic Chemicals from Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide; 2010; Inventors: William Kubic and Jeffrey Martin, Los Alamos, NM; Assignee: Los Alamos National Security LLC, NM (USDOE Los Alamos National Laboratory); Abstract: The present invention is directed to providing a method of producing synthetic fuels and organic chemicals from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide gas is extracted from the atmosphere, hydrogen gas is obtained by splitting water, a mixture of the carbon dioxide gas and the hydrogen gas (synthesis gas) is generated, and the synthesis gas is converted into synthetic fuels and/or organic products. Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention. Claims: A method for producing a chemical product comprising the steps of: extracting carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere; producing hydrogen gas; combining said carbon dioxide gas and said hydrogen gas to produce a synthesis gas; and converting said synthesis gas to said product.The method ... wherein said method is powered by a power source selected from the group consisting of nuclear power, hydroelectric power, geothermal power, wind power, photovoltaic solar power, thermal solar power, and combinations thereof. The method ... wherein said product is selected from the group consisting of fuel, diesel fuel, jet fuel, gasoline, petrochemicals, plastics, butane, methanol, ethylene, propylene, aromatic compounds, petrochemical derivatives, derivatives thereof, and mixtures thereof";

our own United States Department of Energy itself, and it's precedent agencies, has developed over the course of several decades, or paid to have developed, our own domestic  processes wherein, respectively, Coal and renewable waste Biomass, and similar materials, and Carbon Dioxide gas, can be directly converted into any and all OPEC-type products.

As in the above examples, the chemical reactivity of elemental Hydrogen makes it possible to, in fact, design Coal and CO2 hydrogenation processes, for the production of synthetic hydrocarbons, that require the input of relatively little additional energy, or, as in "United States Patent Application 20130338411 - Liquefaction of Carbonaceous Material and Biomass to Produce a Synthetic Fuel", allow the design of the process to at least be simplified and to be made much more direct and straightforward. A close read of the above "United States Patent Application 20100205856 - Method of Producing Synthetic Fuels and Organic Chemicals from Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" will reveal that the various energy sources suggested in our excerpts are needed primarily to make Hydrogen available.

Hydrogen, coupled with proper catalysis, can act, as it were, as a chemical energy "lever", and can reduce the amount of additional energy that needs to be added to effect the hydrogenation, and/or what is known as the hydrolysis, of Carbon-containing raw materials. 

Such value of Hydrogen, as in the above "United States Patent 3,963,598 - Flash Hydrogenation of Coal; 1976", has of course been known for many decades. And, as seen in our report of:

USDOE Hydrogen from Sunlight and Water | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 4,476,105 - Process for Photosynthetically Splitting Water; 1984; Inventor: Elias Greenbaum, Oak Ridge, TN (USDOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory); Assignee: The United States of America; Abstract: The invention is an improved process for producing gaseous hydrogen and oxygen from water. The process is conducted in a photolytic reactor which contains a water-suspension of a photoactive material containing a hydrogen-liberating catalyst. The reactor also includes a volume for receiving gaseous hydrogen and oxygen evolved from the liquid phase. To avoid oxygen-inactivation of the catalyst, the reactor is evacuated continuously by an external pump which circulates the evolved gases through means for selectively recovering hydrogen therefrom. The pump also cools the reactor by evaporating water from the liquid phase. Preferably, product recovery is effected by selectively diffusing the hydrogen through a heated semipermeable membrane, while maintaining across the membrane a magnetic field gradient which biases the oxygen away from the heated membrane. This promotes separation, minimizes the back-reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, and protects the membrane";

the USDOE has been at work for decades developing technology whereby environmental energy, in the case of the above "United States Patent 4,476,105 - Process for Photosynthetically Splitting Water" it would be sunlight, can be efficiently harnessed to drive the extraction of Hydrogen from it's most abundant earthly source: Water, H2O.

And, herein we see that they have developed an improved process for such photolysis of Water, to produce Hydrogen; one which doesn't, as does "United States Patent 4,476,105", rely on a likely-fragile organic enzyme derived from, or inspired by, microbiological processes of Water splitting.

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

"United States Patent 8,729,798 - Anti-reflective Nanoporous Silicon for Efficient Hydrogen Production

Patent US8729798 - Anti-reflective nanoporous silicon for efficient hydrogen production - Google Patents

Anti-reflective nanoporous silicon for efficient hydrogen production - Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC

Date: May 20, 2014

Inventors: Jihun Oh and Howard Branz, CO

Assignee: Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, Golden, CO

(Note: The above is the managing entity for the USDOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as will be reaffirmed in additional excerpts. More about them can be learned via:

Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC; "Under the current U.S. Department of Energy contract, in place October 1, 2008, Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (Alliance) manages and operates NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). Alliance is a limited liability company that is equally owned and governed by Battelle and MRIGlobal".

We've cited both "Battelle" and "MRIGlobal" - formerly "Midwest Research Institute" - previously. For more info, see:

Battelle Memorial Institute - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; and:

MRIGlobal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; and:

MRIGlobal Home.

And, if those references still leave you scratching your head a little, the following might provide some insights for fruitful contemplation:

What is skunkworks (Skunk Works)? - Definition from WhatIs.com.)

Abstract: Exemplary embodiments are disclosed of anti-reflective nanoporous silicon for efficient hydrogen production by photoelectrolysis of water. A nanoporous black Si is disclosed as an efficient photocathode for H2 production from water splitting half-reaction.

Government Interests: The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 between the United States Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the manager and operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Claims: A photocathode comprising: a nanoporous black Si (silicon) photocathode configured for H2 (hydrogen) production from water splitting, half-reaction, wherein the nanoporous black Si photocathode is fabricated by metal-assisted etching technique, and wherein the nanoporous black Si photocathode comprises an antireflective, density-graded surface without antireflective coatings. 

The photocathode ... wherein the nanoporous black Si is configured to suppress reflectance less than about 2% over a whole solar spectrum without application of any antireflective coatings (and) wherein the nanoporous black Si is configured to reduce the over-potential to create H2 by more than about 70 mV due to a large surface area of the nonporous black Si. 

The photocathode ... wherein the nanoporous black Si comprises an array of nanowires (or) of nanopores. 

The photocathode ... wherein the nanoporous black Si further comprises hydrogen evolving catalyst configured to reduce overpotential to create H2 more than about 100 mV (and) wherein the hydrogen evolving catalyst comprises at least one of Platinum, Nickel, Molybdenum, Zinc, Copper, Palladium, Gold, Iron, and Sulfur. 

The photocathode ... wherein the nanoporous black Si further comprises at least one buried pn junction, wherein the at least one buried pn junction is configured to reduce overpotential to create H2 by about 500 mV.

(The above "pn junction" is an electronics structure well-understood and commonly, almost ubiquitously worked with by semiconductor and transistor engineers and companies, with special application in the field of photovoltaics. If you can't take our word for it, have the bright teenager in your family read: 

http://www2.pv.unsw.edu.au/nsite-files/pdfs/UNSW_Understanding_the_p-n_Junction.pdf; "Understanding the p-n Junction", by Dr. Alistair Sproul, Senior Lecturer in Photovoltaics; The Key Centre for Photovoltaic Engineering, University of New South Wales, Austrailia";

and then explain it to you. It is well-understood and globally-available technology. The electrical energy unit used throughout, "mV", is thousandths of volts. Not much. Thus, the above "about 500 mV" would be around one half of one volt. It is electrical potential easily ginned up by the relatively lame photoelectric cells the environmentalists are so enthusiastic about. It won't run your air conditioner or your arc welder, you'll need Coal-fired juice for that. But, it will, as catalyzed herein, extract Hydrogen from water.)

The photocathode ...  wherein the nanoporous black Si is configured to produce Hydrogen at about 20% above polished Si due to enhanced photon absorption in 1 sun illumination. 

A device comprising: an anti-reflective, nanostructured, black silicon photocathode configured for hydrogen production by photoelectrolysis of water with water splitting half-reaction; wherein the anti-reflective, nanostructured, black silicon photocathode is fabricated by metal-assisted etching; wherein the anti-reflective, nanostructured, black silicon photocathode comprises a density-graded surface configured to suppress reflectance less than about 2% over whole solar spectrum without any anti-reflection coatings; wherein the anti-reflective, nanostructured, black silicon photocathode promotes Hydrogen gas evolution efficiently without use of a surfactant; and wherein the anti-reflective, nanostructured, black silicon photocathode comprises hydrogen evolving catalyst configured to reduce over-potential to create H2 more than about 100 mV. 

(This is, actually, "just" an improvement on already-known tech for generating Hydrogen from Water via photovoltaic technology. It's intended and designed to both reduce the electric "potential" needed and to increase the amount of the "solar spectrum" that is absorbed and utilized, thus increasing the amount of energy being made available for the water-splitting reaction.)

A device comprising: a vessel (as described, and) further comprising: an encapsulate sealing at least part of the photocathode such that only the first surface of the photocathode is exposed to the electrolyte. 

The device (with the described) first surface further having a hydrogen evolving catalyst (HEC) incorporated onto the surface of the nanoporous black silicon ... wherein the hydrogen evolving catalyst comprises at least one of Pt, Ni, Mo, Zn, Cu, Pd, Au, Fe, and S (and) further comprising: a light source configured to illuminate the photocathode. 

Background: The described subject matter relates to anti-reflective nanoporous silicon for photoelectrodes for efficient production of solar fuels, such as hydrogen production by photoelectrolysis of water."

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It is difficult to explain the importance of such efficiently-generated Hydrogen, but, it is illustrated again in our report of:

August 2011, CO2-to-Gasoline US Patent Awarded | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 7,989,507 - Production of Fuel Materials Utilizing Waste Carbon Dioxide; 2011; Inventor: Bruce Rising, Florida; Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, Germany; Abstract: The present invention is directed to a method for utilizing CO2 waste comprising recovering carbon dioxide from an industrial process that produces a waste stream comprising carbon dioxide in an amount greater than an amount of carbon dioxide present in starting materials for the industrial process. The method further includes producing hydrogen using a renewable energy resource and producing a hydrocarbon material utilizing the produced hydrogen and the recovered carbon dioxide. Claims: A process for utilizing CO2 waste comprising: recovering carbon dioxide from an industrial process that produces a waste stream comprising carbon dioxide ... ; producing hydrogen using a renewable energy resource; and producing methane utilizing the produced hydrogen and the recovered carbon dioxide.  (And)  wherein the producing hydrogen is done by electrolysis of water using electricity generated from the renewable energy resource (comprising) wind or solar energy. ... In one aspect of the present invention, the present invention provides a novel, efficient, and economical method and system for producing useful fuel materials, i.e. methane, methanol carbon monoxide, syngas, gasoline products, and/or other fuel materials, from carbon dioxide recovered from carbon dioxide-containing waste streams via hydrogen produced by renewable energy resources";

wherein Siemens AG discloses how Hydrogen, generated, just as herein, via "solar energy", from Water, can be used to directly convert Carbon Dioxide, as recovered perhaps "from an industrial process", into, first, as above, "methane", and, then, as Siemens goes on to explain in the full Disclosure, even more "Fuel Materials", up to and including Gasoline.

Further, as explained by West Virginia University, in our report of:

WVU Hydrogenates Coal Tar | Research & Development | News; concerning: "Hydrogenation of Naphthalene and Coal Tar Distillate over Ni/Mo/Al2O3 Catalyst; Abhijit Bhagavatula; College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University; Department of Chemical Engineering; Morgantown, West Virginia. 2009; Abstract: The hydrogenation of naphthalene and coal-tar distillates has been carried out in a Trickle Bed Reactor, in which the liquid is allowed to flow through the catalyst bed in the presence of hydrogen. It is a well known fact that the importance of coal as a major source of fuel has been increasing over the past few decades. West Virginia produces about 15% of the total coal mined annually in the United States. The booming price of crude oil along with a major decline in the domestic crude stocks, has accentuated the importance of alternate sources of fuel and chemical feedstocks. Therefore, the production of liquid fuel from solid coal is a major area of research. The process of converting solid coal to liquid is called liquefaction. Coal is liquefied by reacting with hydrogen. ... Therefore, the process of producing liquid fuels from solid coal necessitates increasing the ratio of hydrogen to carbon. This can be done either by removing carbon or by adding hydrogen. ... Direct liquefaction, the direct reaction between coal and hydrogen, involves the conversion of coal to refinable crude hydrocarbons, from which liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc., can be produced";

Hydrogen, perhaps as generated herein via the process of our subject, "US Patent 8,729,798 - Anti-reflective Nanoporous Silicon for Efficient Hydrogen Production", from Sunlight and Water, can enable the rather direct conversion of far and away our largest domestic US fossil fuel resource, Coal, into such seemingly-desirable products as "gasoline" and "diesel".


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