Information Bridge: DOE Scientific and Technical Information - - Document #369609

 

We have several times documented for you the operation of a Coal hydrogenation and liquefaction process, by the old Union Carbide Corporation, at a pilot plant in South Charleston, West Virginia.

As it happens, the United States Department of Energy was aware of Carbide's achievements, and, prior to Carbide's assimilation by Dow Chemical, contracted with them to study further the conversion of Coal into a variety of alcohols, including Methanol, and others, such as Isobutanol; all of which can be further processed to manufacture Gasoline or Gasoline blending components; or, used as raw materials in the manufacture of various plastics.

The report we enclose herein, "Heterogeneous catalytic process for alcohol fuels from syngas. Final technical report. Research Organization: Union Carbide Corp., South Charleston, WV (United States). South Charleston Technical Center"; was published in March, 1996; but, it was submitted to the USDOE in 1993, and represents some years worth of prior research and development effort.

Several of the interim progress reports, prior to this final compilation and summary, are apparently available via the internet, from the US Department of Energy; but they, too, like the one we enclose herein, based on our preliminary reviews, are highly-technical in nature; and, somewhat unsurprisingly, not all of them are listed as being accessible.

And, we caution, should you examine the embedded file closely, that the technical data presented do not at first seem all that encouraging, based on what appear to be the various percentages of alcohols produced via the catalytic condensation of Coal syngas.

However, taken in total, the various products which are co-produced along with the Methanol and Isobutanol, which include, for instance, Propanol, represent a nearly-complete conversion of the original Carbon content in the Coal into a variety of, basically, hydrocarbon products of enhanced value, some of which, like the Methanol and Butanol, can be incorporated as blending components for Gasoline.

That fact is highlighted by Carbide's statement, as excerpted from the Abstract, that:

"To become economically attractive, a process fro producing oxygenates from coal-derived syngas must form these products with high selectivity and good rates, and must be capable of operating with a low-hydrogen-content syngas. This was to be accomplished through extensions of known catalyst systems and by the rational design of novel catalyst systems."

 

So, "through extensions of known catalyst systems" they did develop an "economically attractive ... process for producing oxygenates from coal-derived syngas".

By "oxygenates", we do take them to mean alcohols.

Moreover:

A significant amount of Methane is, or can be, generated in the Coal conversion process variations, as studied herein for the USDOE, by Union Carbide; and, as we have also thoroughly documented, Methane can then be either catalytically condensed and converted itself into liquid Gasoline blending components; or, perhaps better, it can be combined with reclaimed Carbon Dioxide, as in the bi-reforming and tri-reforming processes that have been more recently studied and explained by WVU and Penn State University, and converted in that way into valuable hydrocarbons.

We remind you as well that, at the time this report was submitted to the DOE, as revealed in a number of our earlier reports, Eastman Chemical was already operating a commercial facility for the production of Methanol from Coal, in Kingsport, TN; and, was developing an even larger, similar, plant in LaPorte, TX.

Those facts figure prominently in at least one of our reports to follow, wherein it will be seen that the USDOE, apparently encouraged enough by the information divulged herein by Union Carbide, subsequently engaged the services of Pennsylvania's Air Products and Chemicals company, about whose Coal conversion activities and technologies we have also earlier reported, to study and submit specifics of those commercial industrial processes, wherein Coal is being converted into, primarily, Methanol.

As you can see from the posted file size, in our following excerpts from the above link, the document is quite large. Since it also contains primarily a great deal of obtuse technical data, we thus don't include it is an attachment and have kept our excerpts to a minimum.

 

In any case, with brief comment appended, we present, following, the unedited, and self-explanatory, excerpts from the above link:

View Full Text or Access Individual Pages

DOI: 10.2172/369609

Title: Heterogeneous catalytic process for alcohol fuels from syngas. Final technical report;

High octane ethers from synthesis gas-derived alcohols. Final technical report, September 25, 1990--December 24, 1993Alternative fuels and chemicals from synthesis gasHigh octane ethers from synthesis gas-derived alcohols. Quarterly technical progress report, April--June 1992High octane ethers from synthesis gas-derived alcoholsSynthesis of dimethyl ether and alternative fuels in the liquid phase from coal-derived synthesis gas

Author: B.D. Dombeck; Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center

Publication Date: March, 1996

Report Number: DOE/PC/90046--T18; DOE Contract Number: AC22-91PC90046

Other Numbers: OSTI ID: 369609; Legacy ID: DE96050287; DE96050287

Research Organization: Union Carbide Corporation, South Charleston, WV

Sponsoring Organization: USDOE, Washington, DC

Subject: COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT;10 SYNTHETIC FUELS ;40 CHEMISTRY; FISCHER-TROPSCH SYNTHESIS; CATALYSTS; PERFORMANCE TESTING; METHANOL; CHEMICAL PREPARATION; BUTANOLS; CATALYSIS; COAL; SYNTHETIC FUELS; ETHERS; SYNGAS PROCESS.

Abstract: The primary objective of this project has been the pursuit of a catalyst system which would allow the selective production from syngas of methanol and isobutanol. It is desirable to develop a process in which the methanol to isobutanol weight ratio could be varied from 70/30 to 30/70. The 70/30 mixture could be used directly as a fuel additive, while, with the appropriate downstream processing, the 30/70 mixture could be utilized for methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) synthesis. The indirect manufacture of MTBE from a coal derived syngas to methanol and isobutanol process would appear to be a viable solution to MTBE feedstock limitations. To become economically attractive, a process fro producing oxygenates from coal-derived syngas must form these products with high selectivity and good rates, and must be capable of operating with a low-hydrogen-content syngas. This was to be accomplished through extensions of known catalyst systems and by the rational design of novel catalyst systems. 175 Pages."

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So: "The indirect manufacture of" of Gasoline components "from a coal derived syngas to methanol and isobutanol process would appear to be a viable solution to ... limitations" for such Gasoline raw materials.

Apparently so, since, as we document in reports to follow in coming days, the USDOE, seemingly encouraged, went on, through Air Products and Chemicals, to study the by-then already commercial manufacture of Methanol, from Coal, by Eastman Chemical, in Kingsport, TN, and LaPorte, TX.

And, again: The Methanol and other alcohols produced by these processes can be further converted, as revealed herein by Union Carbide, into the Gasoline blending component MTBE; or, Methanol, via ExxonMobil's "MTG"(r) technology, can be converted directly into Gasoline.


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