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- Conversion of diverse forms of biomass as well as mixtures of biomass with other raw materials e.g. petroleum, heavy oil, natural gas, coal, shale oil, etc. to premium fuels and chemical feedstocks, fertilizer, industrial gases, and pharmaceuticals. For example, calcium carbide from this process can be converted to valuable fuels and chemical feedstocks and to calcium cyanamide for further conversion to cyanamide for use in pharmaceuticals or conversion to urea, a valuable fertilizer. CO + H2 mixtures from our process can be directly used to substitute for coke in blast furnaces to reduce the fossil-carbon footprint of the steel industry and can also be converted to premium fuels and chemicals by established catalytic processes.
- Major products are gases and solids enabling easier products separation and recovery
- Chemical solidification of the fuel value of biomass or biomass mixtures in the form of solid calcium carbide for economical storage and transport and then up-conversion to acetylene, a valuable gaseous fuel, chemical feedstock, and industrial gas, by a well-known reaction with water
- High single-pass conversions of feed at large throughputs with good selectivity to two major high value products using compact reactor vessels
- Modular reactors to reduce initial capital costs and allow process capacity to be expanded in increments matched to growth in product demand
- Increased electrification of the chemical process industries, e.g. manufacture of fuels, chemicals, pulp and paper, and fertilizer opening the door for: (a) diversification of process energy sourcing; and (b) reduced dependence on fossil-carbon sources of process energy. To elaborate, in one embodiment of the present invention, an electrical discharge (a thermal plasma) operating at approximately 1 atm (absolute) pressure provides the process endothermicity (heat input for chemical process reactions). There are various means to generate the electricity to operate the plasma. Moreover, when that electricity is generated from non-fossil sources, e.g. solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, nuclear, the process operates with an essentially zero fossil-carbon footprint
- Electricity storage and load leveling. This technology uses electricity to supply the heat input (endothermicity) that converts a significant fraction of the biomass carbon to a solid, e.g. CaC2 and a valuable gaseous product, i.e. CO + H2 (syn gas). These products can be converted back to electricity, e.g. syn gas combustion; syn gas conversion to H2 for fuel cell power generation; CaC2 to acetylene for combustion or further conversion to another fuel for combustion. Thus, this invention provides means to store electricity, e.g., from intermittent generation sources such as solar and wind power and from surplus generation during periods of off peak power demand.