Plasma Pyrolysis of Natural Gas (NG)

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can be performed in Gliding Arcs (GlidArc), cold and powerful electrical discharges. Two bench scale reactors are used: a glass 0.1-L cold-wall vessel or 1.35-L steel tube. Two or six knife-shaped steel electrodes are put around the gas-flow axis forming a flat or cylindrical nozzle. The gas flow-rate is up to 2.3 m3(n)/h. The NG can be overheated in the larger reactor jacket and then injected between the electrodes at atmospheric pressure. The temperature of the exiting is below 500C. Up to 34% of the NG has been converted, mostly to H2 and C2H2, at a promising energetic efficiency.

GlidArc discharge in pure methane at 1 atm 

Two main pyrolysis reactions are observed:

CH4 = C + 2 H2; DH(298) = 74.6 kJ/mol CH4,

CH4 = 0.5 C2H2 + 1.5 H2; DH(298) = 188.2 kJ/mol CH4

at a high selectivity to acetylene (70 to 90%) and only 30 to 10% selectivity to soot. The energetic expense for 1 m3(n) H2 + 0.22 m3(n) C2H2 is about 4 kWh for that bench scale. It certainly can be lowered.

Inexpensive, powerful and easily controllable gliding discharges can considerably improve H2 and C2H2 production. Compact GlidArc reactors can be easily integrated to any process, engine, vehicle, etc. (no cooling, insignificant electrode corrosion, simple power supply) when gas products separation is not needed. GlidArc reactors can reach a large industrial size at multi-electrodes mounting.

We are exploring an idea of a GlidArc-assisted pyrolysis of the NG that may be used for Zero- or Low-Emission-Vehicle as a part of systems such as Hydrogen fuel cell or Hythane-like (CH4 + H2) fuelled engine, respectively. 

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