Cold Plasma Partial Oxidation of Methane to Higher Value Products

Period of Performance: 06/13/2016 - 03/12/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Reactive Innovations, LLC
2 Park Drive Unit 4
Westford, MA 01886
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The Department of Energy is soliciting innovations in chemical processing of natural gas to produce valuable products such as C2 and C3 hydrocarbons. Furthermore, it is desired to conduct these chemical processes in miniaturized point-of-use, on-demand systems. Statement of How this Problem or Situation is Being Addressed Toward this goal, Reactive Innovations, LLC proposes to develop a cold plasma reactor that incorporates a multi-phase catalyst into a micro-channel reactor for the partial oxidation of natural gas into C2 and C3 hydrocarbons. This multi-phase catalyst eliminates gas phase oxygen in the reactor that over-oxidizes methane to carbon dioxide and water. Accordingly, the proposed cold plasma reactor selectively produces high value products beyond C2 hydrocarbons such as ethylene. What is to be Done in Phase I A new manufacturing technology for producing micro-channel systems was recently demonstrated by Reactive for the Department of Energy. This manufacturing process will be used to produce an integrated multi-phase catalyst in a micro-channel reactor driven by cold plasmas. This partial oxidation reactor will be demonstrated with methane to directly produce valuable C2 and C3 hydrocarbon compounds. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits The use of a micro-channel reactor helps increase thermal and mass-transfer rates to the multi-phase catalysts further augmented by plasma driving forces. Arrays of micro-channels that incorporate cold plasma driving forces along with a multi-phase catalyst structure will significantly improve reaction yields while lowering energy requirements. Key Words Methane partial oxidation, micro-channel reactor, cold plasma, multi-phase catalysts