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Selecting Oxygen Source for Partial Oxidation of Methane To Methanol Using Microwave Plasmas

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The methanol selectivity in partial oxidation of methane in microwave plasma reactors is improved by using H2O in the presence or absence of O2. The use of H2O2 as an oxygen source has a similar effect, although it is less effective than H2O. The addition of H2 to the system has little effect on selectivity. Two pathways are suggested for the formation of methanol. One involves a CH3O* or CH3O2* intermediate, while the other involves a direct combination of H3* and OH* radicals. The first pathway is favored in the presence of O2 while the latter is favored in the presence of H 2O or H2O2. The best results are obtained for the CH4-O2-H2O system when methanol is formed through both pathways.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, U-60, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3060 U.S.A.; 2: Department of Chemistry, U-60, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3060 U.S.A., Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Materials Science; 3: Texaco Research Centre, Texaco Inc., P.O. Box 509, Beacon, NY 12508 U.S.A.


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