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Catalytic Coal Gasification Process for the Production of Methane-Rich Syngas

National Energy Technology Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Research is active on the patented technology, titled "Production of Methane-Rich Syngas from Fuels Using Multi-functional Catalyst/Capture Agent." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Reducing pollution emitted by coal and waste power plants in an economically viable manner and building power plants that co-generate fuels and chemicals during times of low electricity demand are pressing goals for the energy industry. One way to achieve these goals in an economically viable manner is through the use of a catalytic gasifier that turns coal or waste into methane-rich syngas. The derived syngas can be converted into pipeline quality natural gas, combusted on site in a gas turbine, or directly generate electricity within a solid oxide fuel cell. In the case of fuel cells, several research groups have shown that it is possible to achieve overall system efficiencies near or above 60 percent on a higher heating value basis. Methane in the syngas is crucial to achieving high system efficiency because internal reforming of methane into hydrogen can reduce the parasitic loading that would be required to maintain the temperature of the solid oxide fuel cell.
The current invention describes a method for producing methane-rich syngas using alkaline hydroxides as both a catalyst and in situ CO2 capture agent. The molten catalytic gasification process for converting coal into a synthesis fuel occurs at temperatures exceeding 700°C and results in syngas consisting of approximately 20 percent methane and 80 percent hydrogen. The molten catalytic gasifier process represents a way of converting coal or municipal solid wastes into a syngas with the potential to generate synthetic natural gas or electricity by gas turbines or solid oxide fuel cells with minimal to near zero emissions of acid gases, greenhouse gases, and particulates.
  • Provides a single step process for coal-derived methane and hydrogen gas production
  • Alkaline hydroxides serve as both a catalyst and in situ acid gas and CO2 capture agent
  • Integrated CO2 capture within the reactor vessel eliminates the need for downstream capture
  • Alkaline catalysts are regenerated using lime and/or an electrodialysis process
  • Process overcomes limitations of conventional coal gasifiers by eliminating the need for oxygen and dry coal feeding
  • Process is applicable for gasification of a variety of hydrocarbon sources including biomass and municipal solid waste
  • Adoption of this technology will allow energy producers to meet existing EPA regulatory requirements for CO2 emissions
Applications and Industries
  • Production of methane and hydrogen-rich fuels for use as a synthetic natural gas as well as in electricity generation from gas turbines and solid oxide fuel cells
More Information

U.S. Patent No. 8,920,526 issued December 30, 2014, titled "Production of methane-rich syngas from hydrocarbon fuels using multi-functional catalyst/capture agent."

Inventors: Siefert; Nicholas S., Shekhawat; Dushyant, Berry; David A., Surdoval; Wayne A.U.S.

U.S. Patent No. 9,562,203 issued February 7, 2017, titled "Methane-rich Syngas production from hydrocarbon fuels using multi-functional catalyst/capture agent."

Inventors: Nicholas Siefert, Dushyant Shekhawat, David Berry, and Wayne Surdoval

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 9,562,203
Methane-rich syngas production from hydrocarbon fuels using multi-functional catalyst/capture agent
The disclosure provides a gasification process for the production of a methane-rich syngas at temperatures exceeding C. through the use of an alkali hydroxide MOH, using a gasification mixture comprised of at least 0.25 moles and less than 2 moles of water for each mole of carbon, and at least 0.15 moles and less than 2 moles of alkali hydroxide MOH for each mole of carbon. These relative amounts allow the production of a methane-rich syngas at temperatures exceeding C. by enabling a series of reactions which generate H.sub.2 and CH.sub.4, and mitigate the reforming of methane. The process provides a methane-rich syngas comprised of roughly 20% (dry molar percentage) CH.sub.4 at temperatures above C., and may effectively operate within an IGFC cycle at reactor temperatures between C. and pressures in excess of 10 atmospheres.
U.S. Department of Energy 02/07/2017
Technology Status
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