United States Patent: 8529645

We remind you of our recent report, as accessible via:

USDOE and Arizona Coal to Methane + Electricity | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,236,072 - System and Method for Producing Substitute Natural Gas from Coal; 2012; Inventor: Raymond Hobbs, AZ; Assignee: Arizona Public Service Company, Phoenix; Abstract: The present invention provides a system and method for producing substitute natural gas and electricity, while mitigating production of any greenhouse gasses. The system includes a hydrogasification reactor, to form a gas stream including natural gas and a char stream, and an oxygen burner to combust the char material to form carbon oxides. The system also includes an algae farm to convert the carbon oxides to hydrocarbon material and oxygen.  ... Government Interests: This invention was made with Government support under DOE Contract No. DE-FC26-06NT42759 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention. Claims:  A system for producing substitute natural gas and electricity, the system comprising: a hydrogasification reactor for reacting hydrogen with coal. ... The system for producing substitute natural gas and electricity ... wherein the algae farm includes material to convert carbon oxides from the oxygen burner to hydrocarbon material and oxygen";

 

wherein it was seen that the USDOE had hired the Arizona Public Service Company to improve one process and system for the conversion of Coal into substitute Natural Gas.

Note, in the above, that any by-product Carbon Dioxide arising from the process is slated to be fed to an "algae farm", where the CO2 could be consumed. A related alternative would be an actual "bio-reactor", as disclosed for one example in our report of:

Penn State May 14, 2013, CO2 to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,440,438 - Electromethanogenic Reactor and Processes for Methane Production; 2013; Inventors: Shaoan Cheng and Bruce Logan, State College, PA; Assignee: The Penn State Research Foundation, University Park, PA; Abstract: Increasing competition for fossil fuels, and the need to avoid release (of) carbon dioxide from combustion of these fuels requires development of new and sustainable approaches for energy production and carbon capture. Biological processes for producing methane gas and capturing carbon from carbon dioxide are provided according to embodiments of the present invention which include providing an electromethanogenic reactor having an anode, a cathode and a plurality of methanogenic microorganisms disposed on the cathode. Electrons and carbon dioxide are provided to the plurality of methanogenic microorganisms disposed on the cathode. The methanogenic microorganisms reduce the carbon dioxide to produce methane gas, even in the absence of hydrogen and/or organic carbon sources";

wherein the waste gas CO2 is converted by known-types of micro-organisms into even more substitute natural gas Methane, which could be added to that made via the gasification of Coal, along with algal biomass, which could, as seen for one example in our report of:

Celanese Co-Gasifies Coal and CO2-Recycling Algae | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130144087 - Co-Gasification of Aquatic Biomass and Coal; 2013; Assignee: Celanese International Corporation, Irving, Texas; Abstract: The invention also relates to co-gasification processes for forming syngas from aquatic biomass and a fossil fuel. In one aspect, the invention is to a process for producing syngas, comprising: introducing aquatic biomass, a fossil fuel, water and oxygen to a gasifier and forming syngas comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; and feeding aquatic biomass with carbon dioxide derived from the syngas. In other aspects, the invention relates to integrated processes for producing industrial chemicals, such as alcohols, carboxylic acids, esters, aldehydes, olefins and polymers from such syngas.  A process for producing syngas, comprising: (a) introducing aquatic biomass, a fossil fuel, water and oxygen to a gasifier and forming syngas comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide; and: (b) feeding aquatic biomass with carbon dioxide derived from the syngas. The process ... wherein the aquatic biomass that is introduced into the gasifier comprises the aquatic biomass that is fed in step (b). The process ... wherein the aquatic biomass is formed from microalgae (or) macroalgae (and) wherein the fossil fuel comprises coal";

as it accumulates, simply be added to the Coal being fed to the gasification process.

However, as we've seen in a number of reports, as for example in:

Shell Oil Coal + CO2 + H2O = Hydrocarbon Syngas | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 7,829,601 - Partial Oxidation Process of a Solid Carbonaceous Feed; 2010; Assignee: Shell Oil Company, Texas; Abstract: The invention is directed to a process for preparing a mixture comprising CO and H2 by operating a partial oxidation process of a solid carbonaceous feed, which process comprises the steps of: (Supplying) the solid carbonaceous feed and an oxygen-containing stream to a burner, wherein a CO2 containing transport gas is used to transport the solid carbonaceous feed to the burner ... . (And) partially oxidizing the carbonaceous feed in the burner wherein a gaseous stream comprising CO and H2 is being discharged";

Carbon Dioxide can also be used and consumed as one of the agents of gasification, wherein, in such a process, it reacts with the hot carbon content of the Coal and/or biomass, as explained for one example in our report of:

Bayer Improves Coal + CO2 = Carbon Monoxide | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 7,473,286 - Carbon Monoxide Generator; 2009; Assignee: Bayer Material Science, AG, Germany; Abstract and Claims: A generator (as described, and) further comprising a desulfurizing device. Background and Field: The present invention relates to a novel generator for the reaction of carbon-containing raw materials and also to an improved process for the production of carbon monoxide gas (CO gas) having a high degree of purity using such a generator. Carbon monoxide gas is frequently produced in the art by means of a continuous process in which carbon-containing raw materials are reacted with oxygen and carbon dioxide".

And, herein we learn that the Arizona Public Service Company has adapted and designed the process of their above "United States Patent 8,236,072 - System and Method for Producing Substitute Natural Gas from Coal", for converting Coal into substitute natural gas, so that, as with the Shell Oil process of the above-cited "United States Patent 7,829,601 - Partial Oxidation Process of a Solid Carbonaceous Feed", their process can accept a feed of carbonaceous raw material into the gasifier that is entrained in a flow of at least some of the Carbon Dioxide co-produced by the overall Coal-to-Substitute Natural Gas process.

As seen in excerpts from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"United States Patent 8,529,645 - Hydrogasification Reactor and Method of Operating Same

Hydrogasification reactor and method of operating same - Arizona Public Service Company

Patent US8529645 - Hydrogasification reactor and method of operating same - Google Patents

Date: September 10, 2013

Inventors: Raymond Hobbs, et. al., Arizona, Pennsylvania and Japan

Assignee: Arizona Public Service Company, Phoenix

Abstract: The present invention provides a system and method for evaluating effects of process parameters on hydrogasification processes. The system includes a hydrogasification reactor, a pressurized feed system, a hopper system, a hydrogen gas source, and a carrier gas source. Pressurized carbonaceous material, such as coal, is fed to the reactor using the carrier gas and reacted with hydrogen to produce natural gas.

(Note that there are a number of ways in which Coal can be gasified and a number of products which can be produced from such gasification. Most often, a hydrocarbon synthesis gas blend of Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen, which can then be catalytically, chemically condensed into various hydrocarbons, is produced by the gasification process. However, as seen for one example in our report of: 

Pennsylvania Coal to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 3,779,725 - Coal Gasification; 1973; Assignee: Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, PA; Abstract: A method for producing a synthetic pipeline gas by reacting a carbonaceous fuel in a gasifier to form a gas and thereafter subjecting the gas to additional process steps including a final cryogenic separation of high methane content gas for use as the pipeline gas";

it is feasible to design and operate a Coal gasification process wherein substitute natural gas Methane is one of the primary products directly generated by the gasification.)

Government Interests: The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract No. DE-FC26-06NT42759 awarded by the Department of Energy.

(Note: We won't be making separate report concerning the above contract, and the reports arising from execution of that contract. The data are compendious. If interested, see:

SciTech Connect: Development of a Hydrogasification Process for Co-Production of Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) and Electric Pow; concerning: "'Development of a Hydrogasification Process for Co-Production of Substitute Natural Gas (SNG) and Electric Power from Western Coals - Phase I'; May 31, 2007; Raymond Hobbs; OSTI ID: 940179; DOE Contract Number: FC26-06NT42759; Research Organization: Arizona Public Service Company; Sponsoring Organization: USDOE; Abstract: The Advanced Hydrogasification Process (AHP)--conversion of coal to methane--is being developed through NETL with a DOE Grant and has successfully completed its first phase of development. The results so far are encouraging and have led to commitment by DOE/NETL to begin a second phase--bench scale reactor vessel testing, expanded engineering analysis and economic perspective review. During the next decade new means of generating electricity, and other forms of energy, will be introduced. The members of the AHP Team envision a need for expanded sources of natural gas or substitutes for natural gas, to fuel power generating plants. The initial work the team has completed on a process to use hydrogen to convert coal to methane (pipeline ready gas) shows promising potential. The Team has intentionally slanted its efforts toward the needs of US electric utilities, particularly on fuels that can be used near urban centers where the greatest need for new electric generation is found. The process, as it has evolved, would produce methane from coal by adding hydrogen. The process appears to be efficient using western coals for conversion to a highly sought after fuel with significantly reduced CO2 emissions".

View Full Text  10.39 MB.).  

Claims: A hydrogasification system, the system comprising: a single-pass, vertically-oriented hydrogasification reactor, including an inner wall, an outer wall, a top portion, a bottom portion, and a pressurized sealed space between the inner and outer wall, wherein the inner wall is configured to withstand reaction pressure up to about 1200 psig. and wherein the top portion includes a plurality of injection ports angled between about 30 degrees and about 70 degrees relative to a centerline of the reactor and a feed inlet; a hydrogen source coupled to the top portion of the hydrogasification reactor; a heater located between the inner wall and outer wall, the heater configured to heat the inner wall to a temperature of about 1300 to about 1900 F.; a feed system coupled to the top portion of the hydrogasification reactor; and a hopper system coupled to the bottom end of the hydrogasification reactor, the hopper system comprising a first hopper comprising a first outlet and a second outlet for analysis of transient materials, a second hopper coupled to the first outlet of the first hopper, and a valve between the first hopper and the second hopper, wherein the second outlet of the first hopper is not coupled to the second hopper, wherein when the valve is open, transient solid residue is collected in the second hopper, and when the valve is closed, steady-state solid residue is collected in the first hopper, and wherein reactants enter the reactor at the top portion and products exit the reactor at the bottom portion. 

The hydrogasification system ... further comprising a carrier feed supply fluidly coupled to the feed system (and) wherein the carrier feed supply comprises a material selected from the group consisting of nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and mixtures thereof. 

The hydrogasification system ...  wherein the carrier feed supply comprises carbon dioxide. 

The hydrogasification system ... wherein the carrier feed supply comprises a motor and a conveyor (and) wherein the carrier feed supply comprises a magnetically driven conveyor (and) wherein the carrier feed supply is configured to provide feed pressurized to about 2000 psig. to the reactor. 

The hydrogasification system ... wherein the hydrogasification reactor comprises a pressurized annular region between the inner wall and the outer wall (and) further comprising a plurality of heaters interposed between the inner wall and the outer wall. 

The hydrogasification system ... further comprising a carrier gas source coupled to the pressurized feed system (and) wherein the carrier gas source comprises a material selected from the group consisting of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen.

(Note, that, as seen in our report of:

NASA 2014 CO2 to Methane | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 8,710,106 - Sabatier Process and Apparatus for Controlling Exothermic Reaction; 2014; Assignee: Precision Combustion, Inc., CT; Abstract: A Sabatier process involving contacting carbon dioxide and hydrogen in a first reaction zone with a first catalyst bed at a temperature greater than a first designated temperature; feeding the effluent from the first reaction zone into a second reaction zone, and contacting the effluent with a second catalyst bed at a temperature equal to or less than a second designated temperature, so as to produce a product stream comprising water and methane";

since Hydrogen is a component of the feed stream, it can catalytically be made to react with the Carbon Dioxide component of the feed to directly synthesize more of the desired product: substitute natural gas Methane. And, since elemental, molecular Hydrogen is required to operate this process, we submit, that, as seen for one example in our report of:

USDOE and California Solar Hydrogen for CO2-to-Fuel Conversion | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent Application 20130092549 - Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolysis Using Water Vapor as a Feedstock; 2013; Assignee: California Institute of Technology; Abstract: A light-driven electrolytic cell that uses water vapor as the feedstock and that has no wires or connections whatsoever to an external electrical power source of any kind. Government Interests: This invention was made with government support under DE-SC0004993/T-105066 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention. Claims: An illumination-driven apparatus, comprising: a separator having a first side and a second side opposite said first side, said separator configured to be permeable to an ionic reaction moiety and configured to be substantially impermeable to molecular moieties so as to separate a first molecular moiety present on said first side from a second molecular moiety present on said second side; an oxidation catalyst present on said first side of said separator, said oxidation catalyst configured to oxidize H2O to produce molecular oxygen (and chemical fuel) wherein said chemical fuel is (Hydrogen) H2. ...  The illumination-driven apparatus ... wherein said light absorber configured to absorb illumination is configured to absorb illumination having an intensity of approximately 1 kilowatt per square meter or less (and) wherein said illumination having an intensity of approximately 1 kilowatt per square meter or less is terrestrial solar illumination";

we're getting pretty good at extracting such needed Hydrogen from the water, H2O, molecule, in processes which can be powered by freely-available environmental energy; in the above case simple "terrestrial solar illumination".)

Background and Field:The present invention generally relates to systems and methods for producing substitute natural gas (SNG) from carbonaceous material. More particularly, the invention relates to systems and methods for producing SNG using hydrogasification of carbonaceous material and to techniques and systems for characterizing the hydrogasification process. 

Because of their relatively high energy density and their current availability, fossil fuels, such as coal, are currently used to supply most of the world's energy requirements. Unfortunately, use of such fuels is thought to generate a substantial portion of the greenhouse gas emissions. Thus ... it becomes increasingly desirable to use such energy sources more efficiently, while mitigating any negative environmental effects. 

One technique that has been developed for more efficiently using coal and mitigating deleterious environmental effects includes gasification of coal to produce substitute natural gas (SNG).

Producing SNG from coal is desirable because the produced SNG can be used in existing natural gas infrastructure (e.g. pipelines, compressor stations, and distribution networks), in commercial applications where natural gas is a feedstock, in domestic applications where natural gas is used for heating and cooking, and in electric utility applications where natural gas is used as a fuel to produce electricity.

Coal reserves are substantially greater and more accessible than natural gas supply, and SNG can provide an additional supply of natural gas as the supply of existing natural gas sources diminishes.

Producing SNG from coal also has the added advantages of providing stability to the supply and thus price of natural gas ... . 

Although some techniques for gasifying coal and the production of methane or SNG from coal are generally known, the various reactions and associated kinetics are not necessarily well understood. Accordingly, apparatus and techniques to study coal gasification reactions, and in particular, hydrogasification reactions, are desired.

Summary: The present invention provides an improved reactor and method for evaluating process conditions and reaction kinetics of hydrogasification processes. While the ways in which the present invention addresses the various drawbacks of the prior art are discussed in greater detail below, in general, the invention provides a system including a hydrogasification reactor with variable operation parameters and measurement and/or test equipment to evaluate effects of varying operating conditions on resultant products. 

In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, a system is configured to allow manipulation of various operating parameters, such as reactants, reactant flow rates, reaction temperature, reaction pressure, feed particle size, feed type, reactor residence time, gas:solid feed ratio, and the like. 

In accordance with further aspects, a system is configured to measure reactor temperature, reactor pressure, methane yield, product (e.g., char) properties, and the like.

The present invention provides an improved reactor and method for evaluating process conditions and reaction kinetics of hydrogasification processes. While the ways in which the present invention addresses the various drawbacks of the prior art are discussed in greater detail below, in general, the invention provides a system including a hydrogasification reactor with variable operation parameters and measurement and/or test equipment to evaluate effects of varying operating conditions on resultant products. 

In accordance with various embodiments of the invention, a system is configured to allow manipulation of various operating parameters, such as reactants, reactant flow rates, reaction temperature, reaction pressure, feed particle size, feed type, reactor residence time, gas:solid feed ratio, and the like. 

In accordance with further aspects, a system is configured to measure reactor temperature, reactor pressure, methane yield, product (e.g., char) properties, and the like. 

In accordance with yet further embodiments, the reactor includes a high-pressure fuel feed system. In accordance with some aspects of these embodiments, a magnetic feeder is used to inject a pressurized fuel (e.g., coal) stream into a reaction area. In accordance with other aspects, a carrier gas is used to facilitate injection of the feed.  

The present invention provides a hydrogasification reactor and system and method of using the reactor and system.

More particularly, the invention provides a reactor and system for evaluating process conditions, reactants, and products of hydrogasification processes, such as hydrogasification of carbonaceous material(s). 

The reactor and system of the present invention can be used to develop and understand hydrogasification reaction kinetics and understand the effects of process conditions on products, both desired and undesired, of hydrogasification reactions. The information that is obtained using the system and reactor can, in turn, be used to design other, e.g., larger production reactors and systems. 

The reactor, system, and method of the present invention can be used for (the) hydrogasification of coal."

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In sum, We The People, through the USDOE-financed development of the technologies disclosed in our previous report concerning "United States Patent 8,236,072 - System and Method for Producing Substitute Natural Gas from Coal", and in our report today concerning "United States Patent 8,529,645 - Hydrogasification Reactor and Method of Operating Same"; own at least a share in technologies that are capable of efficiently and directly producing a substitute for Natural Gas out of some of our abundant Coal.

Moreover, the technologies detailed in those disclosures, if not actually being able to consume, and to both directly and indirectly - through an intermediate production of biomass - convert a net positive amount of added Carbon Dioxide, along with the basic Coal feed, into substitute natural gas Methane, seem at least capable of reducing any Carbon Dioxide emissions from the process to an insignificant minimum.

And, as silent as our own press interestingly seems to be on the subject, as can be learned via just one example out of many via: 

Oil and gas companies lose interest in US shale gas - News - Economy - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Eco; "Early last year, the United States pinned great hopes on shale gas production. President Barack Obama said the new production technologies would ensure the US energy independence for a whole century. The so-called ‘shale gas revolution’ did have a role to play in the US economy. The United States stopped importing natural gas, while boosting shale gas production by a factor of 10. But many major gas producers began to report problems quite soon, namely a large-scale depreciation of shale assets. The British companies BP and BP Group said they’d lost one billion dollars and one billion 300 million dollars respectively, while the Canadian EnCana Company said it had lost almost two billion dollars. Now it is Shell, which says it has written off more than two billion dollars. The company is selling its Eagle Ford Shale stake in South Texas, one of the biggest shale gas deposits in the United States. The company claims that almost 200 gas wells, drilled in the area, are incapable of reaching their planned production capacity. The expert warning that the US shale gas reserves were largely exaggerated, while the deposits were quickly depleted due to the specifics of the production technology was obviously ignored. Now they have more problems, says the chief of the analytical research service of the UNIVER Capital Company, Dmitry Alexandrov. "The surge in the interest in shale gas is clearly over. Given the US budget problems, shale gas production companies should expect no more funding. Therefore, shale gas deposits are no longer financially attractive";

independent foreign experts and observers are openly reporting on the fact that the United States of America doesn't have nearly as much shale natural gas that can be recovered on a practical and economical basis as many would have, for whatever now suspect reasons, obviously preferred to have the general United States public believe

So, in sum, if we do wind up with a fleet of expensive white elephants cloaked as Natural Gas-fired electric power generation plants on our hands, King Coal can still ride in to the rescue.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_10_02/Oil-and-gas-companies-lose-interest-in-US-shale-gas-1809/


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