This technology provides a new process that enables high efficiency conversion of methane (e.g., from associated natural gas, or from anaerobic digestion of waste biomass) to liquid transportation fuels in the gasoline (~C10) or Diesel (~C16) range. This conversion is accomplished by the energetically efficient condensation of methane to ethylene by low energy electron impact ionization through the use of an electric corona discharge non-thermal plasma, followed by further condensation by corona discharge to yield a liquid fuel stream. The process is being developed as a micro-structured device with a small footprint, thus enabling development of small sources that are not otherwise economical to develop, and are usually flared.
Features & Benefits
Background of Invention
Current technology enabling conversion of natural gas to liquids is gas reforming (steam, dry or autothermal) followed by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and related CO hydrogenation processes that convert syngas to methanol followed by methanol dehydration. Both these approaches are known to have low overall energetic efficiency. These processes require large installations to achieve some degree of economic and mass efficiency, which makes it impractical to develop stranded resources. A process implemented at the scale of devices useful for the recovery of stranded methane does not exist, resulting in the flaring of such gas sources.
Provisional patent application filed.