Title:
INTEGRATED AND MODULAR APPROACH FOR CONVERTING ELECTRICAL POWER TO IONIC MOMENTUM AND HIGH DIFFERENTIAL VOLTAGE POTENTIAL
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An integrated and modular approach is provided to convert electrical power to ionic momentum and a resulting high differential voltage field potential using an integrated multi-planar or axial microwave array and energetically sympathetic dielectric antennae to convert distilled liquid water to steam plasma and propagate the resulting water derived ions and electrons, steam and microwave energy into a modular energetic planar arrangement for integration into reactor vessels of various designs for the reduction of waste stream and fossil sourced feedstocks into their fundamental gaseous components and simultaneous reformation into desired synthesis or methane gas. The formed steam plasma (initiating plasma) generates electrons and ions which are propagated differentially to create a high differential voltage field potential which in conjunction with dielectric heating and far infrared radiation induced feedstock ionic polarization effects creates a series of primary feedstock reducing plasma fields for efficient plasma gasification with simultaneous product gas reformation.



Inventors:
Barton, Charles D. (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
14/160338
Publication Date:
08/21/2014
Filing Date:
01/21/2014
Assignee:
CARDINAL LAW GROUP
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24H9/00
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Primary Examiner:
SAMUELS, LAWRENCE H
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARDINAL LAW GROUP, LLC (EVANSTON, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus comprising: at least one of a magnetron or array of magnetrons arranged at the end of a cylindrical shield such that, when energized, microwaves propagate into the cylinder to at least one of the right or positive Z direction, the cylindrical shield constructed of at least one of a metal or other shielding material and lined with a refractory material to protect it from high temperatures; within the cylindrical shield an open ended, radio transparent nozzle placed such that as the microwaves propagate unobstructed into the cylinder, passing through the nozzle but are constrained by the cylindrical shield; at least one of a pair of spheres, a series of spheres, a series of pairs of spheres, a pair of cylinders, a series of cylinders, or a series of pairs of cylinders micro-perforated and arranged within the nozzle such that the micro-perforations oppose each other and are separated by a variable air gap; at least one of these cylinders or spheres are composed of a radio transparent material selected from the group comprising fused quartz, alumina, and the like and are hollow such that the free space interior diametric dimension is equal to or greater than one wavelength of a given dielectric fluid to be used to fill them; the cylinders are filled with at least one of a distilled water a dielectric, or another dielectric fluid of interest from a source which provides enough pressure to maintain the cylinders quantity sufficiently full, as the distilled water is ionized and consumed in the operation of the apparatus; the magnetrons are then provided power and activated; microwaves propagating in the +Z direction immerse the dielectric filled cylinders in a microwave field and the cylinders concentrate the electric field lines along an axis which causes the water to quickly heat to high temperatures and water vapor or steam is propelled from the perforations; since equal potential lines are compressed inside the cylinders and in the steam filled gap between them, the voltage gradient between them increases causing air breakdown and a resulting arcing occurs; in the area surrounding the arcs the combination of high voltage potential and the high temperature of the steam escaping from the cylinder's perforations combine to ionize the steam into a non-thermal equilibrium plasma where the steam dissociates into electrons (e−), water vapor positive ions (H2O+), other positive ions (OH+, O+, H+, etc) and various neutral fragments a fraction of which are propagated differentially out of the apparatus (H); the water volume in the cylinders (D) is consumed but is replenished and maintained by the pressure of the source (A); additional steam (G) in various volumes, temperatures and dryness may be added to the operating apparatus to: 1) maintain a specific operating temperature inside the apparatus, 2) add additional H2O components into a reactor vessel to meet stoichiometric requirements for integrated or downstream processes or 3) tune for changing impedance characteristics in the system.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the steam can be added in at least one of a direct, counter current, swirl gas or any combination thereof.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the nozzle can be varied in shape to maximize the interaction between the plasma arcs and the steam or to adjust for varying desired operating pressures and effluent velocities.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the device can be operated with the nozzles submerged in water, distilled water or other media as needed based on desired outputs.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further coupled to a circular, ring shaped enclosed structure which, as an energetic planar apparatus, would function as a modular vertical component of a sealed reduction or gasification or hydrogasification reactor vessel further comprising; the magnetrons emit microwaves which travel through the apparatus, coupling first with the dielectric cylinders rapidly heating the water within them, causing the emission of steam from the perforations and an increased voltage potential which causes the dielectric breakdown of the air in the separating gap resulting in arcing or the formation of an initiating steam plasma; the steam plasma components including highly energetic electrons and water ions proceed differentially into the circular arrangement where some impart an ionic dissociative force to the reduction target feedstock, others impart kinetic energy to the reactor's atmospheric molecules, and yet others contribute to an increasing voltage field potential which accumulates onto one or more of the following locations depending on specific feedstock materials and specific functional intent of the apparatus and the associated mechanisms: A. A refractory lining, where: with the application of an externally applied rotating magnetic field, this accumulating voltage potential/charge can be made to rotate about the feedstock providing the mechanism for the induction heating of the feedstock ; with a continuous ingress of electrons from the operation of the apparatus, this induction heating mechanism proceeds in an increasing fashion until the sum accumulated voltage potential/charge exceeds the dielectric properties of the vessel's atmosphere between the anode/charge and the feedstock, at which point it discharges into the feedstock; repeating this accumulation/discharge process continuously; B. A strategically placed accumulating anode, where: protuberances can be fashioned from the reactor vessel lining to collect and discharge the accumulating voltage potential/charge to direct less random discharges to satisfy specific feedstock feeding mechanisms as determined by the final reactor vessel design; repeating this process continuously; C. The feedstock where: accumulating voltage potential/charge can amplify the space charge effects from electronic conduction that some materials experience when immersed in a microwave field; the charge accumulates in these space charge regions until the sum accumulated voltage potential/charge exceeds the dielectric properties of the feedstock material between these regions at which point the accumulated charge discharges within the feedstock itself; due to variability in feedstock composition, charge location/mechanism is necessarily variable resulting in a periodic and unpredictable combination of location/mechanism; the discharge represents the formation of a randomly localized and continuous series of primary reducing plasma fields which contribute to final gasification of the feedstock; the ionic dissociative force imparted to the reduction target feedstock, the imparted kinetic energy to the reactor's atmospheric molecules, and the combination of the three specific mechanisms describing the accumulating charge and discharge all contribute to the increasing kinetic energy or heat of the reactor vessel; microwaves that do not couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae continue into the reactor vessel and couple with the reduction target feedstock and to a much lesser extent the atmospheric gases; as the dielectric loss factor of a medium is roughly the material's ability to dissipate electric field energy in the form of heat, and since most waste stream and fossil sourced feedstocks are primarily composed of carbon, and, since most carbon based media exhibit a high dielectric loss factor, the reduction target feedstock begins to heat from coupling with the microwaves; where these same types of materials show a lesser ability to conduct this accumulating heat out of the target and so hot spots and thermal runaway effects will occur, further contributing to the increased heat of the reactor interior; where these effects can affect the characteristic impedance of the feedstock which can result in a decrease in the efficiency in which the microwaves and the reduction target feedstocks couple and standing waves can occur; where these reflected microwaves then couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae and further contribute to the generation of the initiating steam plasma arcs which impart more voltage potential and ionic kinetic energy (H), or heat, into the reactor vessel; to a lesser extent these back reflecting microwaves can impart dielectric heating effects to the steam (G1, G2, G3) in the apparatus as well; since dielectric heating of a material is most effective if the material is an electric dipole and since most primarily carbon containing materials are not electric dipoles it is constructive that far-infrared radiation induces such an artificial dipole in the feedstock and is emitted by the refractory material that the apparatus is lined with, aided by the lining's surface humidity and the overall heat of the interior of the vessel, increasing the reduction target feedstock's dielectric heating susceptibility and further increasing the overall efficiency of this combined apparatus; variable reformation of resulting gaseous components into final desired end products is facilitated by the simultaneous availability of necessary reactants in the vertical convection currents of the complete reactor vessel; Apparatus can be arranged in various configurations around the circumferentially enclosed structure to maximize free space microwave constructive and directional interference.

6. A method comprising: magnetrons arranged in at least one of an opposite, radial or axial fashion around a central Z axis to maximize the dielectric heating effect on electric dipoles by: 1) the apparent rotation of the propagating E fields relative to the target dipole fixed on the Z axis forcing target dipole rotation in multiple planes, 2) the sequential staggering in length of the magnetron launching sections to rapidly force the target dipole species from position to anti-position (rotation), both mechanisms substantially increasing the frictional component between target species; magnetron waveguide launching sections are staggered in length appropriate with the number of magnetrons used such as to provide wave crests of maximum or minimum amplitude across the Z axis to be as diametrically opposite as possible and in an alternating fashion from the previous wave crest receding across the Z axis; an apparatus can be assembled in this fashion using as few as two magnetrons and in many unique configurations to account for specific and various dipole target media, ionic lag and to disrupt molecular rotational momentum as needed; and a waveguide accumulators can be fashioned to adapt multiple waveguide launching sections to a single applicator or launching section as needed for a specific application depending on the desired mode of operation.

7. A method comprising: constructing a plasma gasification unit at or near a problem quantity of a problem material; using the plasma gasification unit to simultaneously process a hydrocarbonaceous material, an inert vitrifying matrix substrate, and the problem material, yielding at least one of an energetically useful synthesis gas (syngas), energetically useful heat, and a completely non-leaching vitreous slag with the introduced problem material contaminant safely and permanently sequestered with it.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the problem material is fly ash and the plasma gasification unit simultaneously processes the hydrocarbonaceous material, the inert vitrifying matrix substrate, and the fly ash, yielding the energetically useful synthesis gas (syngas), energetically useful heat, and a completely non-leaching vitreous slag with the introduced fly ash contaminant safely and permanently sequestered with it.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the problem material is asbestos and the plasma gasification unit simultaneously process hydrocarbonaceous material, an inert vitrifying matrix substrate, and asbestos, yielding the energetically useful synthesis gas (syngas), energetically useful heat, and a completely non-leaching vitreous slag with the introduced asbestos contaminants safely and permanently sequestered within it.

10. The method of claim 7 wherein the problem material is radioactive waste and the plasma gasification simultaneously processes the hydrocarbonaceous material, the inert vitrifying matrix substrate, and the low level radioactive waste, yielding: energetically useful synthesis gas (syngas), energetically useful heat, and a completely non-leaching slag with the introduced low level radioactive particulate contaminants safely and permanently sequestered within it.

Description:

CLAIM FOR PRIORITY

The present application claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 61/754,265 filed Jan. 18, 2013 and titled “INTEGRATED AND MODULAR APPROACH FOR CONVERTING ELECTRICAL POWER TO IONIC MOMENTUM AND HIGH DIFFERENTIAL VOLTAGE POTENTIAL” the complete subject matter of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The technical field of this disclosure is renewable energy and environmental contaminant remediation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The ever growing concerns about modern society's reliance on the decreasing abundance of fossil fuels, the impact the use of such fuels may have on future global climate trends and the increasing realization of the importance of recycling ‘waste’ carbon sources into useable fuels suggests that a solution addressing these issues would have large scale social and economic impacts. The herein described methods and apparatus combine the properties of spherical or cylindrical dielectric antennas and their unique properties in microwave fields with the dielectric distilled water and a novel magnetron array to provide a series of energetically sympathetic mechanisms for most efficient plasma gasification. These are presented here as a logical and conclusive consequence of the following known facts and observations:

1. Useful energetic fuels are most commonly comprised of primarily carbon.

2. The harvesting and processing of finite fossil sources of these fuels (petroleum oil, coal, etc.) is expensive, dangerous and their useful combustion introduces an increasing ‘non-native’ carbon component to the atmosphere which may be impacting long term global climate patterns.

3. The accumulation of carbon waste streams in landfills and other places around the world are wasting real estate, are potential threats to the water supply and present real potential environmental hazards to be managed over time.

4. Industrial processes exist which can convert waste streams which have been reduced to their fundamental gaseous components into useful carbon based energetic fuels.

5. Gasification and more specifically, plasma gasification, has been shown to be a completely ‘clean’ method for reducing carbon waste streams to their constituent components.

6. NO energetically or economically efficient method has yet been contrived for the plasma gasification based reduction of carbon waste streams.

7. The addition of molecular oxygen (O2) in stoichiometric proportions is required for the various existing processes which reform the gaseous products of plasma gasification into energetically useful fuels.

8. The ionization of aqueous water and water vapor (steam) can provide the same required reactants as O2 for the same and similar reformation processes.

9. The processes for ionizing aqueous water and water vapor (steam) into a non thermal equilibrium plasma are well known using a combination of heat and strong voltage potential yielding disassociated electrons (e−), water vapor positive ions (H2O+), other positive ions (OH+, O+, H+, etc) and various neutral fragments, all of which would be useful for A) imparting kinetic energy to a reactor vessel's atmospheric components and target feedstocks (heat), B) imparting a strong dissociative ionic force to the reduction target feedstocks in the reactor vessel, and C) providing needed and desirable reactants (O, H, O2, H2, etc.) for the re-association of reduced feedstock gases into useful end products (e.g., synthesis gas, methane, etc.).

10. Microwaves as electromagnetic waves propagating in the Z direction have both an electric component (E, which oscillates in the X dimension) and a magnetic component (U, which oscillates in the Y dimension) which propagate sinusoidally and in phase.

Further, microwave propagation in air or in materials depends on the dielectric and magnetic properties of the medium. The electromagnetic properties of a medium are characterized by: Complex Permittivity (E) and Complex Permeability (U), where:

For the Electric Component:


E=E′−E″

where the real component of the complex permittivity, E′, is commonly referred to as the dielectric constant, and the imaginary component of the complex permittivity, E″, is referred to as the dielectric loss factor. E′ is not constant and can vary significantly with frequency and temperature.

Similarly, for the Magnetic Component:


U=U′−U″

Where U′ is the permeability and U″ is the magnetic loss factor.

11. The interactions between microwaves and materials can be represented by 3 general processes: A) Rotation of electric dipoles, B) Space charges due to electronic conduction, and C) Ionic polarization associated with far-infrared vibrations.

12. The dielectric heating of water (an electric dipole) via microwaves is clearly understood to involve the water molecule rotating in response to the oncoming electric field (E) in the plane of the electric field. In aqueous water this rotation of the molecule causes friction with adjacent molecules and this increasing movement represents increasing kinetic energy, which represents heat. Dielectric heating of frozen water (ice) via microwaves is inefficient due to the spatial restriction the solid phase presents, and conversely the dielectric heating of water vapor (steam) via microwaves is inefficient due to the lack of proximity of the molecules to one another and associated lack of a friction component.

13. Microwaves at a frequency of 2450 Mhz correspond to a free space wavelength of 4.8 inches. However, microwaves at the same frequency traveling through the dielectric distilled water have a reduced wavelength of 0.539 inches.

14. Dielectric spheres (or cylinders) one or more wavelengths in diameter form a special class of microwave antenna structure which, when immersed in a microwave field, concentrate the electric field lines along an axis as illustrated in FIG. 11.

Equal potential lines are compressed inside the dielectric sphere (or cylinder) (A in FIG. 11) and in the gap between an array of dielectric spheres (or cylinders) (B in FIG. 11).

15. The natural resonant frequency range of water (H2O is between 18 and 25.6 GHz, with a peak resonance frequency of 22.24 GHz.

It would be desirable to have a method to safely concentrate and sequester particulate contaminants in a permanent, non leaching fashion.

These and other objects will be readily evident upon a study of the specification and the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect relates to an apparatus comprising: A magnetron or array of magnetrons (M) arranged at the end of a cylindrical shield (B) such that, when energized, microwaves (W) propagate into the cylinder (to the right or, positive Z direction). The cylindrical shield (B) is constructed of metal or other shielding material and lined with refractory material to protect it from high temperatures. Within this cylindrical shield an open ended, radio transparent nozzle (C) is placed such that as microwaves (W) propagate into the cylinder they do so unobstructed, passing through the nozzle (C) but are constrained by the cylindrical shield (B). A pair or a series or a series of pairs of spheres, or, a pair or a series or a series of pairs of cylinders (D) are micro-perforated and arranged within the nozzle (C) such that the micro-perforations oppose each other (E) and are separated by a variable air gap. These cylinders (or spheres) are composed of a radio transparent material (such as fused quartz, alumina, etc) and are hollow such that the free space interior diametric dimension is equal to or greater than 1 wavelength of a given dielectric fluid to be used to fill them. The cylinders (D) are filled with distilled water (A, a dielectric, or another dielectric fluid of interest) from a source which provides enough pressure to maintain the cylinders quantity sufficient, full, as the distilled water is ionized and consumed in the operation of the apparatus. The magnetrons (M) are then provided power (PS) and activated. Microwaves (W) propagating in the +Z direction immerse the dielectric filled cylinders (D) in a microwave field and the cylinders (D) concentrate the electric field lines along an axis which causes the water to quickly heat to high temperatures and water vapor (steam) is propelled from the perforations (E). Since equal potential lines are compressed inside the cylinders (D) and in the steam filled gap between them, the voltage gradient between them increases causing air breakdown and a resulting arcing (F) occurs. In the area surrounding the arcs (F) the combination of high voltage potential and the high temperature of the steam escaping from the cylinder's perforations (E) combine to ionize the steam into a non thermal equilibrium plasma where the steam dissociates into electrons (e−), water vapor positive ions (H2O+), other positive ions (OH+, O+, H+, etc) and various neutral fragments a fraction of which are propagated differentially out of the apparatus (H). As such, the water volume in the cylinders (D) is consumed but is replenished and maintained by the pressure of the source (A). Additional steam (G) in various volumes, temperatures and dryness may be added to the operating apparatus to: 1) maintain a specific operating temperature inside the apparatus, 2) add additional H2O components into a reactor vessel to meet stoichiometric requirements for integrated or downstream processes or 3) tune for changing impedance characteristics in the system. This steam (G) can be added in either a direct (G1), counter current (G2) ‘swirl gas’ (G3) or any combination of fashions. The nozzle (C) can be varied in shape to maximize the interaction between the plasma arcs (F) and the steam (G) or to adjust for varying desired operating pressures and effluent velocities. The device can also be operated with the nozzles (C) themselves submerged in water, distilled water or other media as needed based on desired outputs.

Another aspect relates to a method comprising of magnetrons arranged in an opposite or radial or axial fashion around a central Z axis (FIG. 3A) to maximize the dielectric heating effect on electric dipoles by: 1) the apparent rotation of the propagating E fields (FIG. 3B) relative to the target dipole fixed on the Z axis forcing target dipole ‘rotation’ in multiple planes, 2) the sequential staggering in length of the magnetron launching sections to rapidly ‘force’ the target dipole species from position to anti-position (rotation), both mechanisms substantially increasing the frictional component between target species. Magnetron waveguide launching sections are staggered in length appropriate with the number of magnetrons used such as to provide wave crests of maximum or minimum amplitude across the Z axis to be as diametrically opposite as possible and in an alternating fashion from the previous wave crest receding across the Z axis (FIGS. 4 and 5). Apparatus can be assembled in this fashion using as few as two magnetrons and in many unique configurations to account for specific and various dipole target media, ionic lag and to disrupt molecular rotational momentum as needed. It should also be noted that depending on the desired mode of operation, waveguide accumulators can be fashioned to adapt multiple waveguide launching sections to a single applicator or launching section as needed for a specific application.

Still another embodiment relates to an apparatus comprised of the apparatus used either by itself or in conjunction with a method described in (M) coupled to a circular, ring shaped or otherwise circumferentially enclosed structure (I, not shown to scale) which, as an energetic planar apparatus, would function as a modular vertical component of a sealed reduction or gasification or hydrogasification reactor vessel of various possible designs. The magnetron(s) (M) emit(s) microwaves which travel through the apparatus, coupling first with the dielectric cylinders (D) rapidly heating the water (A) within them, causing the emission of steam from the perforations (E) and an increased voltage potential which causes the dielectric breakdown of the air in the separating gap resulting in arcing or the formation of an initiating steam plasma (F). These steam plasma components including highly energetic electrons and water ions proceed differentially into the circular arrangement (I) where some impart an ionic dissociative force (3) to the reduction target feedstock (J), others impart kinetic energy (2) to the reactor's atmospheric molecules (L), and yet others contribute to an increasing voltage field potential (10) which accumulates onto one or more of the following locations depending on specific feedstock materials and specific functional intent of the apparatus and the associated mechanisms are here described:

    • 1. The refractory lining (9). In this case, with the application of an externally applied rotating magnetic field (N), this accumulating voltage potential/charge (10) can be made to rotate about the feedstock (J) providing the mechanism for the induction heating of the feedstock (J). With a continuous ingress of electrons from the operation of the apparatus, this induction heating mechanism proceeds in an increasing fashion until the sum accumulated voltage potential/charge (10) exceeds the dielectric properties of the vessel's atmosphere between the anode/charge (10) and the feedstock (J), at which point it discharges (M) into the feedstock (J). This accumulation/discharge process repeats continuously.
    • 2. A strategically placed accumulating anode(s) (not shown). Protuberances can be fashioned from the reactor vessel lining to collect and discharge the accumulating voltage potential/charge (10) to direct less random discharges (M) to satisfy specific feedstock (J) feeding mechanisms as determined by the final reactor vessel design. Once discharged this process also repeats continuously.
    • 3. The feedstock itself (J). Accumulating voltage potential/charge (10) can amplify the ‘space charge effects from electronic conduction’ that some materials experience when immersed in a microwave field. In this case the charge (10) accumulates in these ‘space charge’ regions until the sum accumulated voltage potential/charge (10) exceeds the dielectric properties of the feedstock material between these regions at which point the accumulated charge (10) discharges (M) within the feedstock itself.

It is important to note that due to variability in feedstock composition, charge location/mechanism #3 is necessarily variable resulting in a periodic and unpredictable combination of location/mechanism #1 with #3, or #2 with #3. In all cases, however, the discharge (M) described in all three mechanisms represents the formation of a randomly localized and continuous series of primary reducing plasma fields which contribute to final gasification of the feedstock (J) It is also important to note the cumulative thermal effects of the processes described so far: The ionic dissociative force (3) imparted to the reduction target feedstock (J), the imparted kinetic energy (2) to the reactor's atmospheric molecules (L), and the combination of the three specific mechanisms describing the accumulating charge (10) and discharge (M) (just described above) all contribute to the increasing kinetic energy or heat of the reactor vessel. Additionally, microwaves (M) that do not couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae (D) continue into the reactor vessel (4) and couple with the reduction target feedstock (J) and to a much lesser extent the atmospheric gases (8). Since E″, or the dielectric loss factor of a medium (J) is roughly the material's ability to dissipate electric field energy in the form of heat, and since most waste stream and fossil sourced feedstocks are primarily composed of carbon, and, since most carbon based media exhibit a high dielectric loss factor or are ‘lossy’, the reduction target feedstock (J) begins to heat from coupling with the microwaves (4). These same types of materials show a lesser ability to conduct this accumulating heat out of the target and so hot spots and ‘thermal runaway’ effects will occur, further contributing to the increased heat of the reactor interior. These effects can affect the characteristic impedance of the feedstock (J) which can result in a decrease in the efficiency in which the microwaves (4) and the reduction target feedstocks (J) couple and standing waves can occur, or, put another way, microwaves can be reflected (6,7) back into the apparatus. These reflected microwaves (6) then couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae (D) and further contribute to the generation of the initiating steam plasma arcs (F) which impart more voltage potential (10) and ionic kinetic energy (H), or heat, into the reactor vessel. To a lesser extent these back reflecting microwaves (7) can impart dielectric heating effects to the steam (G1, G2, G3) in the apparatus as well. Since dielectric heating of a material is most effective if the material is an electric dipole and since most primarily carbon containing materials are not electric dipoles it is constructive that far-infrared radiation (5) induces such an artificial dipole in the feedstock (J) and is emitted by the refractory material (9) that the apparatus is lined with, aided by the lining's surface humidity and the overall heat of the interior of the vessel, increasing the reduction target feedstock's dielectric heating susceptibility and further increasing the overall efficiency of this combined apparatus. Variable reformation of resulting gaseous components into final desired end products is facilitated by the simultaneous availability of necessary reactants in the vertical convection currents of the complete reactor vessel. Apparatus can be arranged in various configurations around the circumferentially enclosed structure (I) to A) maximize free space microwave constructive and directional interference (FIG. 7, #s 2, 3 &4), or B) to maximize energetic sympathy between like apparatus (FIG. 8), or C) in any desired combination thereof.

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will become further apparent from the following detailed description of the presently preferred embodiment, read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The drawings are not to scale. The detailed description and drawings are merely illustrative of the invention rather than limiting, the scope of the invention being defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view diagram of the apparatus showing the positive Z direction going to the right.

FIG. 2 is a diagram highlighting the mechanism of dielectric heating of an electric dipole.

FIG. 3A is a stylized view of one possible expression of the method from the perspective of the positive Z axis.

FIG. 3B is a stylized view of the oncoming electric fields in their respective planes being propagated by the apparatus described in from the perspective of the positive Z axis.

FIG. 4 is a diagram representing the staggered electric field components of propagating microwaves as emitted by the apparatus. These are represented as plane waves and shown from the X perspective.

FIG. 5 is a diagram representing the staggered electric field components of propagating microwaves as emitted by the apparatus. These are represented as plane waves and shown from the Y perspective.

FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating the functional components of the apparatus with the positive Z axis shown going to the right direction.

FIG. 7 is a stylized plan form view showing one possible expression of the apparatus.

FIG. 8 is a stylized plan form view showing yet another possible expression of the apparatus.

FIG. 9 is a stylized diagram showing the integration of one possible expression of the apparatus integrated into a larger reaction vessel.

FIG. 10 is a diagram showing the apparatus as applied to the reduction remediation of CO2. The positive Z direction is to the right.

FIG. 11 illustrates dielectric spheres (or cylinders) one or more wavelengths in diameter form a special class of microwave antenna structure which, when immersed in a microwave field, concentrate the electric field lines along an axis.

Throughout the various figures, like reference numbers refer to like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating the fundamental configuration of the apparatus. A magnetron or array of magnetrons (M) is arranged at the end of a cylindrical shield (B) such that, when energized, microwaves (W) propagate into the cylinder (to the right, or, positive Z direction). The cylindrical shield (B) is constructed of metal or other shielding material and lined with refractory material to protect it from high temperatures. Within this cylindrical shield an open ended, radio transparent nozzle (C) is placed such that as microwaves (W) propagate into the cylinder they do so unobstructed, passing through the nozzle (C) but are constrained by the cylindrical shield (B). A pair or a series or a series of pairs of spheres, or, a pair or a series or a series of pairs of cylinders (shown, D) are micro-perforated and arranged within the nozzle (C) such that the micro-perforations oppose each other (E) and are separated by a variable air gap. These cylinders (or spheres) are composed of a radio transparent material (such as fused quartz, alumina, etc) and are hollow such that the free space interior diametric dimension is equal to or greater than 1 wavelength of a given dielectric fluid to be used to fill them. In the case of this illustration, let the magnetrons operate at 2450 MHz and let the dielectric fluid be distilled water. Here the diametric dimension would be greater than or equal to 0.539″ as that is the wavelength of a 2450 MHz microwave as it travels through that specific medium. The cylinders (D) are filled with distilled water (A, a dielectric) from a source which provides enough pressure to maintain the cylinders quantity sufficient, full, as the distilled water is ionized and consumed in the operation of the apparatus. The magnetrons (M) are then provided power (PS) and activated.

Dielectric spheres (and cylinders) one or more wavelength in diameter form a special class of microwave antenna structure and since the cylinders (D) are radio-transparent and filled with distilled water which is a dielectric, they behave similarly. Microwaves (W) propagating in the +Z direction immerse the water filled cylinders (D) in a microwave field and the cylinders (D) concentrate the electric field lines along an axis which causes the water to quickly heat to high temperatures and water vapor (steam) is propelled from the perforations (E). Since equal potential lines are compressed inside the cylinders (D) and in the steam filled gap between them, the voltage gradient between them increases causing air breakdown and a resulting arcing (F) occurs. In the area surrounding the arcs (F) the combination of high voltage potential and the high temperature of the steam escaping from the cylinder's perforations (E) combine to ionize the steam into a non thermal equilibrium plasma where the steam dissociates into electrons (e−), water vapor positive ions (H2O+), other positive ions (OH+, O+, H+, etc) and various neutral fragments, some fraction of which are propagated out of the apparatus differentially by the magnetic component of the microwaves (H) which can be deflected with increased specificity with additional magnetic apparatus (P). As such, the water volume in the cylinders (D) is consumed but is replenished and maintained by the pressure of the source (A). Additional steam (G) in various volumes, temperatures and dryness may be added to the operating apparatus to: 1) maintain a specific operating temperature inside the apparatus, 2) add additional H2O components into a reactor vessel to meet stoichiometric requirements for integrated or downstream processes or 3) tune for changing impedance characteristics in the system. This steam (G) can be added in either direct (G1), counter current (G2) ‘swirl gas’ (G3) or a combination of fashions. Though displayed simply as a closed cylinder in FIG. 1, the nozzle (C) can be varied in shape to maximize the interaction between the plasma arcs (F) and the steam (G) or to adjust for varying desired operating pressures and effluent velocities. The device can also be operated with the nozzles (C) themselves submerged in water, distilled water or other media as needed based on desired outputs. “This apparatus converts electric power into ionic momentum and a high voltage gradient.”

FIG. 2. In the case where a large power requirement exists for the application of the device, the use of a multitude of magnetrons (M) in array rather than a single magnetron may be required. With the dielectric heating effect being an interactive effect of interest, an ideal and novel arrangement exists with beneficial applications beyond those of the apparatus. Dielectric heating of an electric dipole (like water) is described as the result of the water molecule ‘rotating’ in response to a propagating electric field. This mechanism is illustrated in FIG. 2. The term ‘rotating’ in this context is misleading as it suggests movement in 3 dimensions. But in actuality, the molecule really only ‘rotates’ in the plane of the propagating electric field or in 2 Dimensions. Since friction of the ‘rotating’ molecule with proximal similar species contributes largely to the dielectric heating effect, adding an additional dimension of movement would greatly increase movement, friction and the overall dielectric heating effect. Microwaves as electromagnetic waves propagating in the Z direction have both an electric component and a magnetic component which propagate sinusoidally, perpendicular to each other and in phase. Since the desired dielectric heating effect involves the target electric dipole species ‘rotating’ in the plane of the propagating electric field (in the Y plane of a given Cartesian coordinate system for example), then by arranging a series of magnetrons radially about the Z axis we introduce more electric field planes which extend the deflection of the target dipole material into the X dimension as well.

FIG. 3. FIG. 3 is an illustration of an example of the method. Waveguide launching sections are arranged radially around a central Z axis (FIG. 3A), and their electric fields are shown (as plane waves) propagating in the Z direction (FIG. 3B) with an arbitrary amplitude. Waveguide launching sections are staggered in length appropriate with the number of magnetrons used such as to provide trailing wave crests of maximum or minimum amplitude across the Z axis to be as diametrically opposite as possible and in an alternating fashion from the previous wave crest receding across the Z axis.

FIG. 3A shows 9 magnetrons with waveguide launching sections arranged radially in a nonagonal pattern. If waveguide #1 is X wavelengths long, each succeeding numerically labeled waveguide section is ⅛th of a free space wavelength longer. When operated in this fashion this has the effect of appearing as a traveling double helix shaped electric field relative to the target medium on the Z axis. When these magnetrons are each operating at 2.45 GHz for example, the frequency apparent to the target medium on the Z axis would be 2.45×9 or 22.05 GHz, which by design is very near to the peak natural resonance frequency of water, which is 22.24 GHz.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate plane wave views of the method and illustrated in FIG. 3 from both the X and Y perspectives, respectively. The black vertical index marks note the maximum points that the staggered waves traverse across the Z axis. As a given wave recedes back across the Z axis the following wave rises from a nearly opposite direction (in this case 160 degrees) ‘forcing’ the dipole material near the Z axis in this (nearly) opposite direction and deflecting it out of its current rotating plane as well (again, in this case by 160 degrees).The method and illustrated by FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 shows but one of many possible examples of this method. Apparatus can be assembled in this fashion using as few as two magnetrons and in many unique configurations to account for specific and various dipole target media, ionic lag and to disrupt molecular rotational momentum as needed. It should also be noted that depending on the desired mode of operation, waveguide accumulators can be fashioned to adapt multiple waveguide launching sections to a single applicator or launching section as needed for a specific application.

FIG. 6. The most obviously useful application of the apparatus used either with or without the method would be in coupling it with a sealed reactor vessel to be used as an efficient energetic mechanism for the reduction, gasification or hydrogasification of various waste stream or fossil sourced products with integrated product gas reformation for ‘green’ and/or renewable energy applications. FIG. 6 is a diagram which shows the apparatus used either by itself or in conjunction with the method (M) coupled to circular, ring shaped or otherwise circumferentially enclosed structure (I, not shown to scale) which, as an energetic planar apparatus, functions as a modular vertical component of a sealed reduction or gasification or hydrogasification reactor vessel of various possible designs showing the reactor's atmospheric components (L), the reduction target feedstock (J), the apparatus' refractory lining (9) and a means for capturing reduction gaseous components (K) for integrated or downstream processing. In this most efficient and energetically sympathetic arrangement, the magnetron(s) (M) emits microwaves which travel through the apparatus, coupling first with the dielectric cylinders (D) rapidly heating the distilled water (A) within them, causing the emission of steam from the perforations (E) and an increased voltage potential which causes the dielectric breakdown of the air in the separating gap resulting in arcing or the formation of an initiating steam plasma (F). These steam plasma components including highly energetic electrons and water ions (H) proceed differentially due to varying masses into the circular arrangement (I) where some impart an ionic dissociative force (3) to the reduction target feedstock (J), others impart kinetic energy (2) to the reactor's atmospheric molecules (L), and yet others contribute to an increasing voltage field potential (10) which either accumulate onto the refractory lining of the vessel (9), other strategically placed accumulating anode(s) (not shown), or within the feedstock itself, increasing the overall reactor voltage potential and the kinetic energy or heat of the vessel interior. It should be noted with regards to the charge (10) accumulating on the refractory lining (9) that with the use of an externally applied rotating magnetic field (N), this charge (10) can be made to rotate about the feedstock (J) providing the mechanism for the induction heating of the feedstock as well. With a continuous ingress of electrons from the operation of the apparatus, this mechanism proceeds in an increasing fashion until the sum accumulating charge (10) periodically overcomes the dielectric properties of the vessel's atmosphere between the anode/charge (10) and the feedstock (J), at which point it discharges (M) into the feedstock (J). Microwaves that do not couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae (D) continue into the reactor vessel (4) and couple with the reduction target feedstock (J) and to a much lesser extent the atmospheric gases (8). Since E″, or the dielectric loss factor of a medium (J) is roughly the material's ability to dissipate electric field energy in the form of heat, and since most waste stream and fossil sourced feedstocks are primarily composed of carbon, and, since most carbon based media exhibit a high dielectric loss factor or are ‘lossy’, the reduction target feedstock (J) also heats from the interaction with the microwaves. These same types of materials show a lesser ability to conduct this accumulating heat out of the target and so hot spots and ‘thermal runaway’ effects will occur, contributing to the increasing heat of the reactor interior. This can affect the characteristic impedance of the media (J) which can result in a decrease in the efficiency in which the microwaves (4) and the reduction target feedstocks (J) couple and standing waves can occur, or, put another way, microwaves can be reflected back into the apparatus (6,7). These reflected microwaves (6) then couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae (D) and further contribute to the generation of the initiating steam plasma arcs (F) which impart more voltage potential (10) and ionic kinetic energy (2,3), or heat, into the reactor vessel. To a lesser extent these back reflecting microwaves can impart dielectric heating effects (7) to the steam (G1, G2, G3) in the apparatus as well. Since dielectric heating of a material is most effective if the material is an electric dipole and since most primarily carbon containing materials are not electric dipoles it is constructive that far-infrared radiation (5) induces such an artificial dipole and is emitted by the refractory material (9) that the apparatus is lined with, aided by the lining's surface humidity and the overall heat of the interior of the vessel, increasing the target feedstock's dielectric heating susceptibility and further increasing the overall efficiency of this combined apparatus. Simultaneously, the intermittent discharging (M) of the accumulating charge or voltage differential (10) into the feedstock (J) contributes with the above thermal phenomenon to induce a continuous series of random but highly reductive primary plasma fields facilitating the gasification of the feedstock (J). It should be noted that the consumption and dissociation of water in this process improves the overall efficiency of this combined apparatus as well. In the common cases where the reduction of a waste stream or fossil source through gasification or hydrogasification is a precursor to the formation of synthesis gas or methane as desired final end products, existing gasification techniques require the addition of externally sourced molecular oxygen (O2) or hydrogen (H2) in stoichiometric amounts as needed reactants in their respective processes. The apparatus greatly reduces these requirement as these needed reactants are created in the course of generating the plasma arcs (F) and are continuously made available being introduced as a fraction of the sum of propagating neutral fragments, ions and electrons (H).

FIGS. 7 and 8. The potential of combining multiple units of the apparatus used either by themselves or in conjunction with the method onto the apparatus for integration with various final reactor vessel designs, suggests two fundamental design strategies for the apparatus. The first basic design results from the consideration of maximizing free space microwave constructive interference to further increase overall system efficiency.

FIG. 7 illustrates a planform view of one of the possible configurations of the apparatus (R), showing the coupling of three (as an example only; more or less can be arranged as needed based on overall reactor diameter, power requirements, etc.) of the apparatus (1). An approximation of the incident (2), reflected (3) and coincident (4) free space microwaves are shown. In this or similar configurations, apparatus are arranged around the circumferentially enclosed structure (R) such that reflected (3) and coincident (4) free space microwaves both amplify incident microwaves (2), (through constructive interference) and offer a different approach angle to the target feedstock. These ‘different approach angles’ serve to introduce additional and incongruous surface regions of accumulating heat in the target media due to the skin effect and where these surfaces intersect an increase in feedstock temperature is realized. In examining configurations with multiple apparatus in varying geometrical patterns arranged to maximize coincident interference, in nearly every case the central columnar space is mostly not subtended by the waves. This may facilitate an integrated multi-process overall reactor design involving a secondary reactor vessel (R2) within the primary reactor. The second basic design leverages the reflected microwaves coupling with the dielectric cylinder antennae.

FIG. 8 illustrates a planform view of the second basic design class for the apparatus. Microwaves exiting from the apparatus described in (2) propagate towards and couple with the feedstock. If feedstock is intermittent or absent and freespace conditions are present these microwaves continue across the diameter of the structure and couple with the cylindrical dielectric antennae of the opposing apparatus (3). In the case where feedstock is present but its inherent impedance changes such that microwaves are reflected, these reflected microwaves (4) couple with the dielectric cylindrical antennae of the originating apparatus. In this way nearly all of the microwave energy generated by the apparatus is used constructively and in such a way as to potentially simplify the impedance tuning requirements of the overall reactor design.

FIG. 9 shows a particular example of the apparatus (A), integrated into a larger reduction, gasification or hydrogasification reactor vessel (B). The apparatus (1) is shown powered by the method (2) attached to a circumferentially enclosed apparatus 3. When feedstock is introduced and the apparatus is operated, the central volume becomes an energized plane (4); it becomes hot from the mechanisms. Most final reactor designs will leverage thermal convection (C) as gaseous components move up and down through the energized plane (4) to maximize thermal exposure and efficiency and may use this process as the basis for a mechanism to extract desired end products out of the system as desired. Various constrictions in the diametric dimension of the reaction vessel may be incorporated to increase convection velocity or to vary pressures as needed. Inertia and/or gravity (D) can be used as a simple mechanism to separate non-gasifiable feedstock residues out of the system. External forces (E, F) like magnetic fields may be applied to affect various reaction kinematics as needed.

FIG. 10 shows the apparatus used either by itself or used in conjunction with the method as a method for reducing CO2 into Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Oxygen ions. CO2 is introduced with the water source (A) and/or with the additional steam (G1, G2, G3) and is reduced by the mechanism described by Claim 1. With the addition of appropriate magnetic directional apparatus (P); the separated species can be directed to separate and additional reaction vessels for constructive re-association.

While the embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are presently considered to be preferred, various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is indicated in the appended claims, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalents are intended to be embraced therein.