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Application of non-thermal atmospheric pressure ac plasmas to the carbon dioxide reforming of methane

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Methane conversions of 11.9%, yields of hydrogen as high as 23.3% and energy yields of 1.0 mol H2/kWh have been achieved from CO2 reforming of CH4 in non-thermal, atmospheric pressure plasma reactors with Pt coated electrodes. Two reactors have been studied. A novel fan type reactor consisting of a movable rotor and immobile stator produced the highest yields in contrast to a tube type (silent discharge) reactor with a glass dielectric barrier. Conversions, yields of hydrogen and energy yields (expressed as mol H2/kWh) were studied for CO2/CH4 concentrations of 1.1% and 5.0% in He as a function of flow rate and input voltage. Hydrogen yields are observed to increase as the input voltage is increased from 411 V to 911 V and the flow rate is decreased from 100 cc/min to 30 cc/min. Energy yields vary only slightly with input voltage and flow rate. Hydrogen yields show little dependence on CO2/CH4 concentrations, but energy yields are approximately five times greater for the 5.0% mixture than the 1.1% mixture. Selectivities to H2, CO, coke, and low molecular weight hydrocarbons were also evaluated and compared to data obtained without CO2 in the feed. Hydrogen selectivities of nearly 100% were obtained, with small amounts of ethane and propane as the only observed side products and the selectivites were approximately the same whether CO2 was present or absent in the mixture. However, the reaction proceeds much more cleanly when CO2 is present, producing CO. The syngas product has an H2 : CO ratio of 1.5 with the fan type reactor and 0.67 with the tubular reactor. In the absence of CO2, coke is the main carbonaceous product. Under all conditions studied the fan type reactor demonstrated higher methane conversions (up to 11.9%) and selectivities to hydrogen.


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