Thermodynamic analysis of plasma-assisted reforming of methane

Maşera, Kemal
Conventional techniques of syngas production use the exhaust gas of combustion of fossil fuels or feedstock like biomass itself. High temperatures are required for this process. To achieve necessary high temperatures, about 30% of feedstock is used initially. Another disadvantage of these conventional techniques is the tar formation which can damage the system by blocking the equipment. On the other hand, plasma processes are more efficient techniques to convert energy like solar, electrical, etc. into chemical energy by breaking the bonds of feedstock. Since the plasma processes do not need to increase the temperature of the feedstock, syngas can be produced from any gas (natural gas, biogas, etc.) that contains methane. In addition, produced syngas is free of toxic waste and reduced amount of pollutant gases such as CO2, NOx, SOx, etc. This study focuses on the system-level, thermodynamic modeling of the plasma-assisted reforming of methane. This analysis has three main important steps. First step is the comparison of conventional and plasma technologies for methane reforming. Second step is finding the theoretical limits in terms of efficiencies and production rates, as well as, figuring out the theoretical improvement capabilities of each individual system. The last step is suggesting the best system, among the studied ones, which has the maximum efficiency and productivity, besides obtaining the reaction quotient higher than the equilibrium constant. The main contribution of this study is comparison of plasma processes among themselves and with other conventional techniques through thermodynamic modeling. As results of the study suggest, plasma technologies have better energy efficiencies than conventional methods. Among themselves, although thermal plasma technologies have higher energy efficiency values, non-thermal plasma technologies exhibit greater specific energy values. In addition, non-thermal plasmas show better performance in the equilibrium constant analysis which represents they provides good ratio of products to reactants in terms of their mole fractions.
Citation Formats
K. Maşera, “Thermodynamic analysis of plasma-assisted reforming of methane,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2016.