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Catalytic Direct Extraction of Valuable Products from Coal with CO2

UW ID: 16-067

Description of Technology

          Coal is currently primarily used as a solid fuel for electric power generation and heat through direct combustion. With a rapidly increasing demand for liquid transportation fuels, along with a dwindling reserve of easily recoverable petroleum resources, coal conversion to clean liquid fuels and valuable chemicals has attracted world-wide attention. Low-rank coals, especially lignites, account for more than 40% of the world’s total coal reserves. 

          In the past, organic solvents, such as methanol, ethanol, and toluene, have been used as solvents for supercritical extraction of coals. Supercritical CO2 has been widely used as a green and effective solvent for various chemical reactions, but is rarely used in coal extraction to produce valuable chemicals. Researchers at the University of Wyoming have developed a catalytic process for direct extraction of valuable products from coal with CO2.With this technology, supercritical CO2 extraction of low-rank coals is conducted on a high temperature and pressure reactor equipped with a CO2 pump. 


Supercritical extraction can be a promising approach to extract valuable chemicals from low-rank coals. 

Features & Benefits

  • Produces less CO2 than the current use of coal for solid fuel.

  • Less expensive and better for the environment than current organic solvents being used for supercritical extraction.

  • Potential for producing valuable chemicals.

  • New uses for coal. 

Marketing Opportunities

Supercritical CO2 extraction is a new innovative technology in the energy industry and could have both environmental and economic benefits for our current society and its needs. 

Downloadable PDF: 16-067



Fan, Maohong

Patent Status: 

Patent Pending

Contact Us: 

University of Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center 

Dept. 3672

1000 E. University Ave. 

Laramie, WY 


Phone: 307-766-2520

Fax: 307-766-2530


Contact Us

Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center

Dept. 3672

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2520

Fax: (307) 766-2530


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