Gas purification by nonthermal plasma: A case study of ethylene

R. Aerts, X. Tu, W. Van Gaens, J. C. Whitehead, A. Bogaerts

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    The destruction of ethylene in a dielectric barrier discharge plasma is investigated by the combination of kinetic modeling and experiments, as a case study for plasma-based gas purification. The influence of the specific energy deposition on the removal efficiency and the selectivity toward CO and CO 2 is studied for different concentrations of ethylene. The model allows the identication of the destruction pathway in dry and humid air. The latter is found to be mainly initiated by metastable N2 molecules, but the further destruction steps are dominated by O atoms and OH radicals. Upon increasing air humidity, the removal efficiency drops by ±15% (from 85% to 70%), but the selectivity toward CO and CO2 stays more or less constant at 60% and 22%, respectively. Beside CO and CO2, we also identified acetylene, formaldehyde, and water as byproducts of the destruction process, with concentrations of 1606 ppm, 15033 ppm, and 185 ppm in humid air (with 20% RH), respectively. Finally, we investigated the byproducts generated by the humid air discharge itself, which are the greenhouse gases O3, N2O, and the toxic gas NO2. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6478-6485
    Number of pages7
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2013


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