Project:

A fossil-fuel based recipe for clean energy and alternative energy utilization

Summary

United States tops in CO2 -emissions per capita, In 2003, 121.3 metric tons of CO2 were released in the atmosphere. In 2004 the total carbon release in North America was 1.82 billion tons. World-wide industrial nations were responsible for 3790 million metric tons of CO2 (Kyoto-Related Fossil-fuel totals). There is little doubt that the world is choking with green-house gases. We need an immediate solution to reduce the emissions from our automobiles and coal/gas burning power plants. Our invention provides a temporary but long term solution to the problem of green-house gas emission and clean energy. We do this by using

•  a process for carbon sequestration in coal/gas burning plants with hydrogen and hydride as byproducts, and by

•  using alternate energy for production of hydrogen and hydrides wherever possible.

In the chemical process to be used for processing carbon gases, hydrogen is generated which in turn permits the reduction in the cost of hydride synthesis. The hydrides store hydrogen for on-board application for automobiles and fuel cells.

Preamble

Steam methane reforming is the most common and the least expensive method to produce hydrogen at present. Coal can also be reformed to produce hydrogen, through gasification. Hydrogen production by CO2 -emitting-free methods is either more expensive compared to those, using fossil fuel or are in the very early stages of development. Since United States has more proven coal reserves than any other country, coal based technology of hydrogen production is very attractive. However, effective and low cost carbon sequestration technology has to be developed.

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy for future but to produce and use hydrogen either by direct combustion or in a fuel cell, we need to use other sources of energy. Thus hydrogen or use of any material in producing energy cannot be an environmentally clean and economically viable solution unless we sequester carbon. The use of hydrogen is being promoted on a federal level with financial support and we may eventually have the hydrogen solution for our transportation and other energy uses. However, it is a sad fact that such energy will continue to be dependent on the use of fossil fuel for long time and may not be economic. To turn things around, we have to use alternate methods of using coal, producing hydrogen and hydrides. Many hydrides are currently under consideration for use in on-board generation of hydrogen and the cost of producing the hydride is an important consideration. This project would use carbon in producing hydrogen with carbon sequestration. The hydrogen is reacted with suitable metals to produce hydrides, which are to be used for hydrogen storage.

Description

Hydrogen generation and synthesis of hydrides is accomplished by using an integrated approach in which coal is used as a fuel and carbon is sequestered in the process. The CO and or CO 2 produced in coal burning power plants and the heat is used when available. Carbon is used both as a reactant and as a fuel for producing hydrogen and hydrides. Economically hydrogen production cost is comparable to the current price of fossil-fuel produced hydrogen with the added benefit of carbon sequestration and reducing global warming.

Specific processes for synthesizing important hydrogen storage materials, magnesium hydride and sodium borohydride are developed. A hydrogen fuel-cell automobile becomes viable as the cost of the hydride synthesis is reduced.

While the processes of carbon sequestration and hydrogen and hydride production are independent technically and economically, they could be aided further by employing the alternative energy forms, solar and wind energy.

Potential impact : Since the world has the reserve of coal for 200 years or more, the successful implementation of this invention could provide us a solution for our energy needs by burning as much coal as we need as a clean energy without significant impact to environment . The chemical process sequesters carbon and provides hydrogen as a byproduct. Furthermore if alternate energy is used for recycling and hydride synthesis, we will be close to the dream goal of zero emission of CO 2 and reduction of global warming . The world can build as many coal/gas burning power plants along with solar thermal plants as needed for the energy requirement of a healthy economic, pollution free growth of nations. This invention will become a model for all countries in the world and would lead to unprecedented economic developments in developing countries. The power plants using coal or fossil fuel should eventually be replaced by energy from alternative sources but what this invention would do is to provide us several decades of breathing time during which we could burn coal satisfying our energy needs and yet protect the environment.

For further information, please contact:

S. K. Saxena*,
Director, CeSMEC (Center for the Study of Matter at Extreme Conditions)
VH-140, University Park, Miami, Florida 33199.
www.cesmec.fiu.edu
Tel 305-348-0540, Fax 305-348-3070

*Author of 250 papers and 5 books in the field of thermodynamics, physical chemistry, geophysics and and high-pressure science. Editor of several volumes of Advances in Physical Geochemistry and others, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1994 (Home of the Nobel Prize committee), La Laurea Ad Honorem in Scienze Geologiche, Padova University, Italy, 2001. Olof Rudbeck medal for academic excellence, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2007