Underground Recovery, LLC Granted Patent for Innovative Process that Generates Electricity from Coal and Other Fossil Fuels without Carbon Emissions

Fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas have been, are, and will remain some of the most abundant energy sources in the world, especially in the US. Despite the benefits of fossil fuel recovery — such as underground coal mining and combustion, and oil and natural gas drilling — and above-ground combustion for power plants, both historically present a threat to the environment and produce undesirable carbon dioxide emissions, greenhouse gas, and ash.

Coal is integral to many of the US’s state economies and is an industry these states can’t afford to lose. Coal is particularly plentiful in Kentucky; as of 2012, coal generates 41% of the world’s electricity, and in 2013, coal generated 93% of all Kentucky’s electricity. Kentucky is the third largest producer of coal in the US, and one of the largest exporters of coal to Asian markets.

Many projects in various stages of commercialization are under way to either process the above-ground released carbon dioxide or sequester underground carbon dioxide, all adding to the cost and environmental impact of generating additional electricity. However, the Lexington-based research and development company Underground Recovery, LLC has a reasonable solution for retrieving underground fossil fuels.

Since 2011, Underground Recovery has been devoted to environmentally friendly and cost effective recovery of energy and metals from underground resources. The company was granted a US patent in July for its innovative coal combustion process, which can eliminate atmospheric release of carbon dioxide emissions and ash. This new process may be a tremendous boon to coal industries in Kentucky and throughout the world, as it provides an economically feasible alternative to the current process of coal, oil, and natural gas mining, followed by above ground combustion and power generation with subsequent under- and above-ground carbon sequestration.

As a high-risk project, if viable, a successful implementation of this process, especially when coupled with hydraulic fracturing, can be ”game changing “ by lowering costs of energy environmental development, increasing fossil fuel reserves, and minimizing the negative environmental impacts of the atmospheric release of GHG, like CO2 and ash.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das

July 28, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“US Coal Exports Aiding Global GHG Emissions” – Environmental Leader, 29 July 2014

Though the US is moving away from coal and towards natural gas — and despite Obama’s dedication to curbing coal-fired power plants’ emissions and bettering fuel economies — the US still exports coal to other areas in the world, and these exports aren’t likely to cease. In continuing to export coal, the US is transferring its potential greenhouse gas emissions to other countries.

Many of the US’s exports are being transported to countries with lenient regulations on emissions, countries that make no effort to lessen the effects of climate change. Almost nine percent of global coal exports are produced by the US.

The US continues to turn a blind eye to the potential for increasing the world’s GHG emissions because of business, jobs, and money that domestic coal supplies; if the US doesn’t provide the coal, then surely another country would step up and take our place.

The biggest emitter of GHG, China is working towards lowering the country’s coal use. However, Germany is undergoing a coal-revival and importing coal from the US. Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions grew by 1.2 percent in 2013. Worldwide coal use grew more quickly than all other fossil fuels in 2013, by three percent.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

July 31, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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Patent Law Update

Considerable changes were made to US patent law — America Invents Act (AIA) – on March 16, 2013, looking to benefit big businesses rather than small businesses. Our new regulations will also alter how researchers and universities apply for patents. Major changes include:

  1. “First-to-File” Rule: Before March 16, US patent law abided by the “first-to-invent” rule; however, now it adheres to a “first-to-file” rule. The “first-to-file” rule has largely been the model for the rest of the world, yet the US chose to not follow it. Now the first inventor to the patent office will be granted the patent.
  2. Grace PeriodThe grace period for publications has been significantly shortened. It used to be that university researchers could use the provisions of US patent law to their advantage, since it permitted a fairly generous one-year grace period for almost all publications. New US patent law states that only the inventor’s own publication will now be accepted. The existence of any other publication — which includes a publication, poster, presentation, foreign patent application or offer for sale — will extinguish patentability.
  3. Written Agreements: University researchers must obtain a written research agreement when collaborating with researchers from different institutions. If there is no agreement, any publications co-authored by multiple institutions will be seen as prior art, and could also destroy patentability. However, if a join research agreement is written and signed by all parties, then patentability will remain intact. A joint research agreement should outline the joint research and declared inventions, and should have written agreements for both unfunded and funded shared work. All agreements will be studied prior to filing a patent application.
  4. Provisional Patent Application: Per revised legislation, provisional applications must include an entire documentation of the invention. Before, US patent law allowed inventors to file “cover page provisional applications,” meaning applicants could submit text from journal manuscripts with cover pages.
  5. Challenging Patent Applications: Revised patent law provides a handful of new way to dispute pending and granted patents.

Only time will tell how revised patent law will affect small technology-based entrepreneurial businesses, which are the main engine of America’s economic growth and competitive standing in Tom Friedman’s Flat World.

See also:
Inventors Race to File Patents

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 19, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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