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Direct Conversion of Methane into Methanol and Formaldehyde in an RF Plasma Environment I: A Preliminary Study

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Volume: 5 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 204-210
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2005.12.0006
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Ya-Fen Wang 1, Cheng-Hsien Tsai2, Minliang Shih3, Lien-Te Hsieh4, WenChing Chang3

  • 1 Department of Bioenvironmental Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, No. 200, Chung Pei Road, Chung-Li 320, Taiwan
  • 2 Department of Chemical Engineering, National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, No. 415, Chien Kung Road, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, No. 60, Sec. 1, Erh-Jen Road, Tainan 717, Taiwan
  • 4 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, 1 Hseuh Fu Rd., Nei Pu Hsiang, Ping Tung, 912, Taiwan


The direct conversion of methane (CH4) into methanol (CH3OH) and HCHO in an Argon (Ar) 50W radio-frequency plasma system was applied and the effects of various feed compositions, CH4/O2 ratio, and plasma discharge areas were compared. Additionally, the effects of various methane to oxygen ratios and plasma discharge areas were studied. It was found that in an Ar stream, the CH3OH conversion ratio in the CH4/O2 plasma system was higher than that in CH4/CO, CO/H2 and CH4/H2/O2 plasma systems. The conversion of CH4 reached 19.1% at CH4/O2 = 40/60; the yield of CH3OH was 1.12% and 16.0% CO, the major product, was produced. A larger plasma discharge area, resulting in a longer residence time, corresponded to higher CH4 conversion, but a lower CH3OH conversion ratio, because of further decomposition into CO and CO2. Interestingly, no carbon deposition was observed in the RF plasma system, and the carbon balance was between 0.94 and 1.19.


Methane Methanol Formaldehyde Radio-frequency plasma

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