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Update, 2018-02-25, 00:34 ET
Key to Eli’s suggestion is the Chaudhary-Bhaskarwar paper, which I did not highlight sufficiently in the above.
Also, there already are patents declared in this space:
- Olah, Prakash, U.S. Patent No. 7,705,059 B2, “Selective oxidative conversion of Methane to Methanol, Dimethyl Ether and derived products”,
- Olah, Prakash, U.S. Patent No. 7,906,559 B2, “Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol and/or Dimethyl Ether using bi-reforming of Methane or natural gas”, March 2011.
Per David B Benson, the original proposal by Eli is apparently something called the Allam power cycle, there is an update about it by its developer, and there is a project trying it nearing completion.