Multiphysics Simulation and Optimal Design of a Pulsed Cold Plasma Reformer



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Pulsed cold plasma reforming is a novel method to harvest hydrogen from hydrocarbons. The harvested hydrogen can feed a fuel cell for distributed generation of electricity in a stationary or mobile platform. The cold plasma arc is generated by a pulsating high voltage waveform. The arc rotates in the magnetic field caused by a ring permanent magnet, thus increasing the collision area between the arc and the fuel. Due to the difficulties of measurement of plasma properties such as ion and electron temperature without disturbing the plasma, multiphysics simulation is a key step in the design of the reformer, thereby increasing the hydrogen harvest rate in the syngas. In this work, a 3D multiphysics simulation including fluid dynamics, thermal response, electromagnetic fields, and chemical reactions has been carried out to assist in the design of the reformer and the selection of the permanent magnet. The reformer parameters include input flow rate, electrode size and shape, the length of the air gap, and the frequency and the duty cycle of pulses. Experiments were carried out to verify the simulation results. The 3D multiphysics simulation is demonstrated to be an effective tool to assist in the design of the reformer. The electromagnetic interference caused by the pulsed cold plasma on probes and printed circuit boards is investigated. The hydrogen harvest rate has been improved from 58.7% to 67.8% with the introduction of the magnet.



Low temperature plasmas, Pulsed power systems, Hydrocarbons, Permanent magnets


Copyright ©2017 is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Eugene McDermott Library. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.