Thermal Fluid Analysis of Cold Plasma Methane Reformer




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One of the most important methods of methane utilization is the conversion to synthesis gas (syngas). However, conventional ways of reforming methane usually require very high temperature, therefore non-thermal (non-equilibrium) plasma methane reforming is an attractive alternative. In this study, a novel plasma based reformer named 3D Gliding Arc Vortex Reformer (3D-GAVR) was investigated for partial oxidation of methane to produce syngas. The tangential input creates a vortex in the plasma zone and an expanded plasma presides within the entire area between the two electrodes. Using this method, the experimental results show that hydrogen can be produced for as low as $4.45 per kg with flow rates of around 1 L per minute. The maximum methane conversion percentage which is achieved by this technology is up to 62.38%. In addition, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling is conducted for a cold plasma reformer chamber named reverse vortex flow gliding arc reactor (RVF-GA) to investigate the effects of geometry and configuration on the reformer performance. In this modified reformer, an axial air input port is added to the top of the reaction vessel while the premixed reactants can enter the cylindrical reaction zone through tangential jets. The CFD results show that a reverse vortex flow (RVF) scheme can be created which has an outer swirling rotation along with a low pressure area at its center with some component of axial flow. The reversed vortex flow utilizes the uniform temperature and heat flux distribution inside the cylinder, and enhances the gas mixtures leading to expedition of the chemical reaction and the rate of hydrogen production. ©2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.



Low temperature plasmas, Fluid dynamics--Mathematical models, Methane--Oxidation, Synthesis gas, Modeling, Hydrogen


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2019 The Authors