X. Zhang and M.S. Cha
J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 46, 415205, (2013)
Dry reforming of methane has the potential to reduce the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide and to generate hydrogen-rich syngas. In reforming methane, plasma-assisted reforming processes may have advantages over catalytic processes because they are free from coking and their response time for mobile applications is quick. Although plasma-assisted reforming techniques have seen recent developments, systematic studies that clarify the roles that electron-induced chemistry and thermo-chemistry play are needed for a full understanding of the mechanisms of plasma-assisted reformation. Here, we developed a temperature-controlled coaxial dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) apparatus to investigate the relative importance of electron-induced chemistry and thermo-chemistry in dry reforming of methane. In the tested background temperature range 297–773 K, electron-induced chemistry, as characterized by the physical properties of micro-discharges, was found to govern the conversions of CH4 and CO2, while thermo-chemistry influenced the product selectivities because they were found to depend on the background temperature. Comparisons with results from arc-jet reformation indicated that thermo-chemistry is an efficient conversion method. Our findings may improve designs of plasma-assisted reformers by using relatively hotter plasma sources. However, detailed chemical kinetic studies are needed.