In this paper, the effect of hydrogen addition on methane coupling in a microwave moderate pressure (55 mbar and 110 mbar) plasma reactor has been studied. The use of optical emission spectroscopy allowed the determination of the rotational temperature of heavy particles and showed it to be in the range of 3000–4000 K. Due to the high temperature in the discharge the dominant product was acetylene and it was concluded that the methane coupling process is mainly through thermal decomposition with a key role of H radicals. It was revealed that the addition of hydrogen can increase both methane conversion and acetylene and ethylene yield and selectivity. With the CH4:H2 ratio of 1:1, the methane conversion increased from 31.0% to 42.1% (55 mbar) and from 34.0% to 48.6% (110 mbar), when compared to pure methane plasma. Respectively, the yield of acetylene increased from 14.4% to 25.3% (55 mbar) and from 20.1% to 34.0% (110 mbar). Moreover, the addition of hydrogen decreased the output of the problematic soot-like product. These results indicate that hydrogen addition can be a simple yet effective method of increasing selectivity to desirable products in plasma reforming of CH4.
- Methane coupling
- Microwave plasma