No CO2 from Carbon-based Fuel
Sounds like a bumper sticker. It’s actually the subject of Patent Number 8,047,007 issued to Robert M. Zubrin (Indian Hills, CO) and Mark H. Berggren (Golden, CO) on November 1, 2011. Their invention, “Methods for generating electricity from carbonaceous material with substantially no carbon dioxide emissions,” assigned to Pioneer Energy, Inc. (Lakewood, CO), provides in claim 1:
“A method for generating power from carbonaceous material, comprising:
boiling water into steam;
reforming the carbonaceous material with the steam to generate a high-pressure gas comprising carbon dioxide gas and hydrogen gas, wherein sufficient steam is provided to ensure a substantial majority of the carbonaceous material is converted into carbon dioxide gas and hydrogen gas;
exchanging heat from hot gas exiting the reforming step with the steam entering the reforming step;
separating at least a portion of the carbon dioxide gas from the high-pressure gas to generate a carbon dioxide-rich gas and a hydrogen-rich gas;
utilizing the carbon dioxide-rich gas in an industrial process;
and generating power in a power generation system from a portion of the hydrogen-rich gas, wherein waste heat from the power generation system is used to provide heat to the boiling water step.”
The carbonaceous material is selected from coal, biomass, natural gas, crude petroleum, ethanol, methanol, and trash, according to claim 2. The industrial process which uses the CO2-rich gas is fuel production, growing algae and growing plants in greenhouses, or carbon sequestration in a saline aquifer, depleted oil field, depleted gas field, or unmineable coal seam, according to claims 15-17. Claims 19 and 20 require that the power generation system is either a gas turbine or a fuel cell.
The invention is classified as 60/780, for power plants having a fuel conversion (e.g., reforming, etc.) process. It was one of the patents issued from the USPTO’s Green Technology Pilot Program, which accepted applications for accelerated examination from December 8, 2009 through mid-February 2012. The patent issued 6 months after the application was filed; the average pendency for Tech Center 3700 (the Tech Center responsible for this subject matter) in 2011 was 37.4 months according to the USPTO’s Data Visualization Center’s Patent Dashboard.
In this case, the inventors and assignee were well-served in achieving an accelerated examination for their clean technology, found within the patentECO Energy Index.