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Bionic Carbon Liquefaction Through Microwave Hydration (CTL)


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The Bionic Group announces its patent pending method of microwave assisted liquefaction of carbonaceous feedstock like coal or char. The technology is an improved application of the Bergius-Pier process which has single-handedly fueled the German airforce during WW2 from 1941. The application of microwaves offers a previously unknown level of energy efficiency to CTL and a carbon footprint reduced to a minimum. More about Bionic's ground breaking work on the application of microwaves to the production of alternative fuels can be found at or write to

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Bionic Carbon Liquefaction Through Microwave Hydration (CTL)

  1. 1. Liquefaction of coal into transportation fuel R&D Project Bionic Laboratories BLG GmbH, Germany in cooperation with Smeral Brno a.s. , Czech Republic2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., Oswego, NY 1 several international patents pending
  2. 2. Introduction• Friedrich Bergius (* 11.10.1889, † 31.3.1949) In summer 1913 Bergius discovered the process of converting lignite coal into organic liquids by applying hydrogen at 150 atm pressure and 450 C in an autoclave. His resulting patent was one of the reasons that he received, together with Carl Bosch, the Nobel Price for high pressure hydrogen processing in 1931.• Prof. Dr. Ernst Bayer (*24.3.1927, † 31.1.2002) In 1961 he invented the process of catalytic low temperature depolymerisation of organic substances to liquid fuel using special zeolite catalysts.• Albert Wallace Hull (* 19.4.1880, † 22.11.1966) In 1920 his research resulted in the invention of the magnetron, the electronic device that generates microwaves. At the time Hull anticipated the magnetron would find greater use as an energy converter than in communication applications and radar systems. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 2 Oswego, NY
  3. 3. Liquefaction in historyAfter World War I several plants following the Bergius process were built inGermany. These plants were extensively used during World War II to fuelthe German Airforce.In the process, dry coal, finely grinded, is mixed with heavy oil recycledfrom the process. A catalyst is typically added to the mixture. The reactionoccurs between 400 °C (752 °F) to 500 °C (932 °F) and 120 to 150 atmpressure in a hydrogen atmosphere. The reaction can be summarizedchemically as follows: n C + (n + 1) H2 → CnH2 n + 2 The general mass balance turns out like this: 100 kg of lignite coal plus 40 kg of heavy oil derived from the process plus 5 kg of catalyst @ 450 - 480°C & 120 - 150 atm hydrogen 30 kg light oils + 50 kg heavy oils + 20 kg gas 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 3 Oswego, NY
  4. 4. Liquefaction in historyBetween 1952 and 2000 the Bergius-Pier process has been enhanced andoptimized in various ways especially in Germany.– Introduction of the combi-cracker technology (1952-1964) (improved catalytic treatment of the gas phase)– Coal Liquifaction plant in Bottrop, Germany 1981-1988 (later used for heavy oil upgrading until 2000)Until today, the Bergius-Pier process demonstrates the highest oilyields (> 60%) in coal liquefaction mode and the highest conversion(>90% of 500+°C) in heavy oil upgrading mode, which consequentlyalso minimizes the CO2 footprint.This is where Bionic picked up the process for a complete redesign basedon Bionic‘s specific knowledge base in microwave and catalyticcracking technologies. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 4 Oswego, NY
  5. 5. Liquefaction today• Combining the different technologies with a specially developed nano catalyst, modulated microwave generators, and a microwave driven hydrogen gas steam/shift generator, Bionic engineers defined an advanced way for an even more efficient conversion of coal to liquid (CTL): – lowered hydrogen pressure (60-80 atm) – controlled energy application via modulated microwaves – improved synthetic nano catalysts – feedstock preprocessing in Bionic‘s MWDP reactor – continous production capability – preprocessing and activation of nano-coal aerosol through microwaves – Improved product quality by hydrogenation of carbon and parallel depolymerisation of aromatics – Unprocessed char exits as <4nm nano-carbon particles - bionic microchar – a char to fuel process - 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 5 Oswego, NY
  6. 6. Production LayoutChar is processedin a microfuel unit whichseparating the volatilecontents.Intermediate product is anano-size carbon aerosolwhich is transported intothe high pressure unit.In these vessels thehydrogenation occurson a microwave heatedcatalyst-net with hydro-carbons being syntesized.They are forming a mixwith heavy oil present in thevessels. This oil-fuel mixtureis then separated in adistillation column.The required hydrogen isproduced by a biomasssteam/shift reformer. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 6 Oswego, NY
  7. 7. Single Unit Layout2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 7 Oswego, NY
  8. 8. Cluster combination LayoutA large scale 4 x 4 clusterCTL facility.A single bionicfuel unitconverts biomass to fuel forthe necessary powerproduction in internalgenerators. Separatedwater from the biomassfeedstock is used forhydrogen production insteam reformers.Four bionicfuel unitsperform the preprocessingof the char with attachedfour hydrogenation unitswhich are responsible forthe final liquefaction step.In a large distillation columnthe lighter products areseparated for use astransportation fuel, whilethe heavy by products arereturned to the highpressure vessels. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 8 Oswego, NY
  9. 9. CapacitiesSingle liquefaction Unit: 1.000 kg / hr + 110 kg H2 520 kg light oil char @ 33 MJ/kg + 370 kg heavy oil 698 kg heavy oil + 70 kg catalyst 270 kg gas + 320 kWh @430 C 80 kg residues 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 9 Oswego, NY
  10. 10. Sideview of processing blockOn the left we have theconventional bionicfuel unitseparating the volatileproducts from the char andbreaking the crystalstructure of the char into anano-particle aerosol.In the middle thecondensers are situated forwater and oil separationfrom the volatile particles,backed by a quench unit.On the right we find thehigh pressure microwavereactor for hydrogenation ofthe char aerosol. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 10 Oswego, NY
  11. 11. Hydrogen generationPictures of a microwavedriven steam/shift reformer.The process follows: CH4+H2O<>CO+3H2, dH=+206,2 kJ/moland CO+H2O<>CO2+H2, dH= + 41,2kJ/molThis unit produces 68% ofhydrogen from conventionalbiomass such as wood orstraw. A plasma burner at theend of the process destroys allunwanted volatile products andcleans the remaining gas attemperatures of 4.000°C.From 200 kg of biomassapprox. 320 kWh of electricpower can be generated in agas-engine which runs onhydrogen and methane.This steam reformer is able toproduce sufficient hydrogen forthe microchar facilities. Only acompressor is required toincrease the hydrogen pressureto 100 bars for filling thereaction chambers. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners 11 Inc., Oswego, NY
  12. 12. microfuel facilityThree Dimensional view of acomplete plant comprisingof feedstock preparation,bionicfuel preprocessingand hydro-processing with acentralized distillation andtanks.On the right a draft of thecontrol room. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 12 Oswego, NY
  13. 13. Technical StandardsAll Bionic systems comply with the following technical standards: DIN EN ISO 9001 ASME Div 01, Div 02 (AIA TÜV, Germany) CE confirmative declaration ATEX 94/9/EU explosive protection directive Maschinenrichtlinie (machinery directive) 2006/42/EU radiation protection of the microwaves by special faraday cages double isolation of all oil containing parts advanced fire protection system hazard protected electronic control equipment 2nd process emergency control system unit fully made of high quality stainless steel production and installation certified by German TÜV or SGS 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 13 Oswego, NY
  14. 14. Stress-approval by CVTSAll parts of the high 112 MPapressure microwave 152 MPa 89 MPareactors are recalculated bythe CVTS, the Center ofdesign of forming machines.The simulation shows thestress of material whenusing high hydrogenpressure. 344 N 188 N Gravity 109 MPa 9.81 ms-2 13 000 N Forbidden rotation and displacement 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 14 Oswego, NY
  15. 15. Hydrogen High Pressure ReactorIllustration of theconstruction process of thehigh pressure hydrogen-microwave reactor vessel.This type of reactor isusable for processing oflignite or anthracite coalsinto transportation fuel.Additionally it can be usedas a stabilization unit forremoving oxygen groupsfrom bio-crude coming outof pyrolysis processes.This increases oil qualityand moves the bio-crudeinto ASTM specificationsrequired by law for sale ofthe oil on the market. High pressure vessels 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 15 Oswego, NY
  16. 16. Electronic partsPictures showing segmentsof the electric cabinets forthe power supply of themicrowave generators.PLC Control and sensorcontrol of the reactor.On the right you can seethe microwave generators,adapted for the microwavereactor.High frequency circuitry isnot shown. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 16 Oswego, NY
  17. 17. Construction side in ChinaA possible location for themicrochar units.A location outside Ordos,Mongolia in the PeoplesRepublic of China.On the small picture there isa gas flare of a recentlyinstalled gasificationsystem.Microchar units aredesigned to work eitherbehind a gasificationsystem, or to utilize theresidue charcoal andconvert it intotransportation fuel. 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 17 Oswego, NY
  18. 18. SMERAL manufacturing2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 18 Oswego, NY
  19. 19. SMERAL manufacturing2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 19 Oswego, NY
  20. 20. SMERAL manufacturing2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners 20 Inc., Oswego, NY
  21. 21. // Smeral Brno a.s. Bionic Laboratories BLG GmbH Krenova 65c Helwigstr. 41 CZ-65825 Brno 64521 Groß-Gerau, Czech Republic Germany +420-532 167 111 +49-1525 33 40 500 www.bionic-world.netAll rights reserved including republishing, patents pending 2/2013 © 2013 Bionic Fuel Knowledge Partners Inc., 21 Oswego, NY