New hydrogen gasification process for coal has patent pending

Sept. 11, 2003 — A new hydrogen gasification process which is modeled after a coal gasification process has been issued a patent pending.

Using gasification technologies, hydrogen can cost around 20 cents a pound from coal or petroleum coke compared to about $1.50/pound at present natural gas prices.

To accomplish this, coal is gasified using hydrogen to first make methane and then converted to hydrogen in a process probably no more complicated than making paper pulp, said inventor Weaver, who used to work in the pulp and paper industry as an instrumentation engineer.

Reactive carbon in the hydrogen gasifier ash is air-blown gasified to fuel the lime kiln/carbonation process loop (see accompanying process diagram).

For hydrogen gasification, Weaver has modified his PCPG (Pulverized Coal Pressurized Gasifier) inventions (see The gasifiers and instrumentation were designed as economical air (or oxygen) blown gasifiers for clean IGCC power systems, or to make hydrogen using other well known processes.

Weaver said he believes air-blown gasification is by far the cheapest way to cleanly make electricity from coal, and he believes his PCPG inventions will become a standard process used in IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) power plants.

“Right now, no one knows what its capabilities are because no company has tried it yet,” Weaver said. “I did the hydrogen gasification patent just to illustrate the tremendous flexibility of PCPG technology and introduce a new bulk coal gasifier with improved control technology at the same time.”

With natural gas prices running high for the foreseeable future, it’s inevitable the oil and power industries will be using more gasification processes. “All oil companies are positioning themselves to own gasification technology to make hydrogen and power — there are almost no exceptions,” said Weaver.

Working alone now, Weaver said he’s looking to transfer all his gasifier inventions to an oil or power group who will lead in their development. “PCPG is not a high risk endeavor in my opinion. There is a lot more risk to our energy future by not experimenting with new ideas like PCPG.”