Upscaling plasma-based CO₂ conversion : case study of a multi-reactor gliding arc plasmatron
Atmospheric pressure plasmas have shifted in recent years from being a burgeoning research field in the academic setting to an actively investigated technology in the chemical, oil, and environmental industries. This is largely driven by the climate change mitigation efforts, as well as the evident pathways of value creation by converting greenhouse gases (such as CO2) into useful chemical feedstock. Currently, most high technology readiness level (TRL) plasma-based technologies are based on volumetric and power-based scaling of thermal plasma systems, which results in large capital investment and regular maintenance costs. This work investigates bringing a quasi-thermal (so-called "warm") plasma setup, namely, a gliding arc plasmatron, from a lab-scale to a pilot-scale capacity with an increase in throughput capacity by a factor of 10. The method of scaling is the parallelization of plasmatron reactors within a single housing, with the aim of maintaining a warm plasma regime while simultaneously improving build cost and efficiency (compared to separate reactors operating in parallel). Special attention is also given to the safety and control features implemented in the setup, a key component required for integration into industrial systems. The performance of the multi-reactor gliding arc plasmatron (MRGAP) reactor is investigated, focusing on the influence of flow rate and the number of active reactors. The location of active reactors was deemed to have a negligible effect on the monitored metrics of conversion, energy efficiency, and energy cost. The optimum operating conditions were found to be with the most active reactors (five) at the highest investigated flow rate (80 L/min). Analysis of results suggests that an optimum conversion (9%) and plug power-based energy efficiency (19%) can be maintained at a specific energy input (SEI) around 5.3 kJ/L (or 1 eV/molecule). The concept of parallelization of plasmatron reactors within a singular housing was demonstrated to be a viable method for scaling up from a lab-scale to a prototype-scale device, with performance analysis suggesting that increasing the power (through adding more reactor channels) and total flow rate, while maintaining an SEI around 5.3 or 4.2 kJ/L, i.e., 1.3 or 1 eV/molecule (based on plug power and plasma-deposited power, respectively), can result in increased conversion rate without sacrificing absolute conversion or energy efficiency.
Source (journal)
ACS Engineering Au
Washington : Amer chemical soc , 2024
(2024) , 12 p.
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Research group
Project info
Circular CO2 conversion by means of atmospheric plasma (BluePlasma).
Surface-COnfined fast-modulated Plasma for process and Energy intensification in small molecules conversion (SCOPE).
Plasma Reactors for Efficient Fertilizer Production Applied in a Real Environment (PREPARE).
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 29.03.2024
Last edited 25.05.2024
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