R-Squared Energy Blog

Pure Energy

New Patent Granted

Mostly off-topic (but energy-related), I just got a notice that one of my patents that has been working it’s way through the system was finally granted:

Reactor and process for making synthesis gas

United States Patent 7,381,230
Rapier, et al. June 3, 2008


The invention relates to reactor systems and processes for producing synthesis gas. In one embodiment, a reactor comprises a first reaction zone comprising a combustion catalyst, wherein the first reaction zone is operated at conditions sufficient to produce a combustion zone product comprising heat generated by the combustion of a fuel. The reactor further comprises a second reaction zone comprising a partial oxidation catalyst, wherein the second reaction zone is adapted to receive the combustion zone product and a reaction feed comprising a hydrocarbon gas. The second reaction zone is operated at conditions sufficient for partially oxidizing the hydrocarbon gas to a product stream comprising synthesis gas. The heat of combustion is transferred directly to the reaction feed by mixing it in a feed mix region located in the reactor between the first and second reaction zones, in such a manner that the reaction feed does not need preheating prior to entering the partial oxidation zone.

This patent is a gas to liquids (GTL) application, but has implications for CTL and BTL as well. From the time of application, it took 3.5 years for this one to be granted.

July 31, 2008 Posted by | patents | 2 Comments

My Patent List

This is related to the topic of energy, but somewhat off topic. I get an occasional inquiry about one of my patents. These patents are primarily related to my work around gas-to-liquids, particularly on the gasification side. I had never compiled an actual list of them, but I recently had to update and provide my CV for consideration for admission into an MBA program. So, for the first time, I compiled the list of patents. Up until this point, I wasn’t completely up to date on which ones had been granted, which ones were pending, and which hadn’t yet been applied for.

The exception to the GTL patents is the one for production of aldehydes. Of all of them, this is my pride and joy, and was my first patent. It was a concept that I had for creating butyraldehyde in a novel manner. (Production of butyraldehyde is Step 1 in the production of butanol via the petrochemical route). I pitched the concept to management, got funding to pilot it, successfully completed the piloting, wrote the patent application (which was then translated into German), and that patent has now been granted in Germany, the EU, the US, and is pending in several other countries. Ironically, I was on assignment in Germany when all of this transpired, and German law required Germans to be listed first on the patent application. So, I am listed as 3rd inventor on this patent, right behind my technician who worked for me while we tested it.

Granted Patents

US Patent 7,067,455 – Copper modified catalysts for oxidative dehydrogenation
US Patent 7,074,977 – Reactor and process for converting alkanes to alkenes
US Patent 7,087,795 – Method for the production of aldehydes

Pending Patents

US 20060143980 – Reactor and process for making synthesis gas
US 20040138060 – Stabilized alumina supports, catalysts made therefrom, and their use in partial oxidation


US 7,087,795 has also been granted in Germany (DE10160368), by the European Patent Office (EP1456162), in South Africa (2004/3935), and is pending in Japan (2003551096) and in South Korea (2003551096).

November 9, 2007 Posted by | curriculum vitae, patents | 2 Comments