Steam reforming of methane in a temperature-controlled dielectric barrier discharge reactor: The role of electron-induced chemistry vs thermochemistry


Liu, Jing-Lin Lin
Snoeckx, Ramses
Cha, Min Suk

KAUST Department
Clean Combustion Research Center
Mechanical Engineering Program
Physical Science and Engineering (PSE) Division

KAUST Grant Number

Online Publication Date

Print Publication Date


While classic reforming processes rely on heat and chemical equilibrium, plasma-based reforming processes possess the ability to induce non-equilibrium and reactive chemistry at low temperatures using high energy electrons. To better understand the distinctive roles of both electron-induced chemistry and thermochemistry during plasma-assisted fuel reforming, we previously developed a temperature-controlled dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor, which controlled the gas temperature and the electron temperature independently. Here, we investigate plasma-assisted steam reforming of methane using the temperature-controlled DBD reactor and electron-kinetics calculations. We investigated the individual effects of the determining factors for electron-induced chemistry (i.e., reduced electric field intensity and discharge power) and for thermochemistry (i.e., background gas temperature) by varying the discharge power, gas temperature, and pressure inside the reactor. As a result, we found that both the electron-induced chemistry and thermochemistry governed the reactant conversions. Thermochemistry positively affected the methane conversion in particular, but negatively affected the water conversion as the gas temperature increased. The electron-induced chemistry weakly affected the product distribution, while the background temperature (thermochemistry) strongly influenced the product selectivity and composition by altering the chemical pathways involving the plasma-generated reactive species at the given temperature.

Liu J-L, Snoeckx R, Cha MS (2018) Steam reforming of methane in a temperature-controlled dielectric barrier discharge reactor: the role of electron-induced chemistry versus thermochemistry. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 51: 385201. Available:

The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), under award number BAS/1/1384-01-01.

IOP Publishing

Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics


Additional Links

Permanent link to this record