Original Paper

Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 271-279

Study of the Production of Hydrogen and Light Hydrocarbons by Spark Discharges in Diesel, Kerosene, Gasoline, and Methane

  • Muhammad Arif MalikAffiliated withFrank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University Email author 
  • , David HughesAffiliated withThe Math and Science Academy, Ocean Lakes High School
  • , Areej MalikAffiliated withGranby High School
  • , Shu XiaoAffiliated withFrank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University
  • , Karl H. SchoenbachAffiliated withFrank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University

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Abstract

Reforming liquid fuels into hydrogen and light hydrocarbons is desirable for improving the combustion characteristics of the fuels and the production of reducing agents for applications such as the removal of nitrogen oxides. In this study, diesel, kerosene, gasoline and methane were reformed by spark discharges between needle and plate electrodes at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. The gaseous products from liquid fuels comprised 65–70 % hydrogen and 30–35 % light hydrocarbons having two carbon atoms per molecule (i.e., C2s), or three carbon atoms per molecule (i.e., C3s). The product gases were 90 % hydrogen and 10 % C2s in the case of methane reforming. The energy efficiency for the production of gaseous products was highest in the case of gasoline at 3.8 mol/kWh, followed by kerosene, diesel and methane at 3.2, 3.0, and 2.4 mol/kWh, respectively. These results were found to be comparable to those reported by others for the reforming of pure hydrocarbons by plasmas in liquids. The liquid fuels turned black due to the formation of carbonaceous products, some of which could be filtered out as solid carbon particles, but others remained dissolved and imparted color to the treated liquid.

Keywords

Spark discharges Reforming Diesel Kerosene Gasoline Methane Non-equilibrium plasma Hydrogen