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Title: Plasma assisted decomposition of methane and propane and cracking of liquid hexadecane
Authors: Aleknaviciute, Irma
Advisors: Karayiannis, TG
Collins, MW
Keywords: CO2 free hydrogen;Clean energy
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Brunel University School of Engineering and Design PhD Theses
Abstract: Non-thermal plasmas are considered to be very promising for the initiation of chemical reactions and a vast amount of experimental work has been dedicated to plasma assisted hydrocarbon conversion processes, which are reviewed in the fourth chapter of the thesis. However, current knowledge and experimental data available in the literature on plasma assisted liquid hydrocarbon cracking and gaseous hydrocarbon decomposition is very limited. The experimental methodology is introduced in the chapter that follows the literature review. It includes the scope and objectives section reflecting the information presented in the literature review and the rationale of this work. This is followed by a thorough description of the design and construction of the experimental plasma reformer and the precise experimental procedures, the set-up of hydrocarbon characterization equipment and the development of analytical methods. The methodology of uncertainty analysis is also described. In this work we performed experiments in attempt the cracking of liquid hexadecane into smaller liquid hydrocarbons, which was not successful. The conditions tested and the problems encountered are described in detail. In this project we performed a parametric study for methane and propane decomposition under a corona discharge for COx free hydrogen generation. For methane and propane a series of experiments were performed for a positive corona discharge at a fixed inter-electrode distance (15 mm) to study the effects of discharge power (range of 14 - 20 W and 19 – 35 W respectively) and residence time (60 - 240 s and 60 – 303 s respectively). A second series of experiments studied the effect of inter-electrode distance on hydrogen production, with distances of 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 mm tested. The analysis of the results shows that both discharge power and residence time, have a positive influence on gaseous hydrocarbon conversion, hydrogen selectivity and energy conversion efficiency for methane and propane decomposition. Longer discharge gaps favour hydrogen production for methane and propane decomposition. A final series of experiments on corona polarity showed that a positive discharge was preferable for methane decomposition.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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