Decomposition of benzene as a surrogate tar in a gliding Arc plasma

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The pyrolysis and gasification technology uses diverse waste resources, including biomass, urban solid waste, and sewage sludge, to produce synthetic gases for industrial use. The tar in the thermal decomposition gas from the pyrolysis and/or gasification process, however, damages synthetic gas facilities and causes operation trouble. In this study, a gliding-arc plasma reformer for tar decomposition was developed to address the aforementioned problem. In addition, experiments were performed on the variables that affect the tar removal efficiency, and the optimal operation condition was presented. The experimental variables included the steam flow rate, input benzene concentration, total gas feed rate, specific energy input (SEI), gas nozzle diameter, electrode length, electrode gap, and electrode shape. With the increase in the total gas feed rate, the benzene decomposition efficiency slightly decreased, and with the increase in the SEI, the energy efficiency increased. In the stable plasma discharge condition, a smaller nozzle diameter, a longer electrode gap, and a longer electrode length led to better decomposition and energy efficiencies. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 837–845, 2013