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Phone: (801) 972-2455

Ceramatec, Inc.
2425 South 900 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

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Plasma Reforming

The Ceramatec cold plasma system uses a novel patented process called GlidArc®. The reformer utilizes a gliding plasma arc to create radicals, ions, and excited states (translational, vibrational and electronic) within the vaporized fuel stream to promote breaking of chemical bonds.

This unique approach processes a wide variety of fuels and provides for saturation of aromatics (i.e. hydrogenation), liberation of deeply bound sulfur (if present), and hydrolysis (hydro-cracking) of large hydrocarbons.

The significant advantages the Ceramatec plasma fuel reformer has over conventional methods for reforming are fuel flexibility, sulfur tolerance, and compact size. The Ceramatec plasma technology is an innovative, integrated process that exploits the thermodynamic advantages of steam reforming and combines it with the robust, highly energetic reaction zone characteristics of partial oxidation.

bench scale plasma fuel reformer

Bench Scale Plasma Fuel Reformer

plasma arc

Plasma Arc

Ceramatec has tested its plasma fuel reformer on a variety of fuels including commercial diesel, JP-8, NATO F-76, S-8, JP 10 and bio-fuels. The reformer does require an electric input to generate the plasma but since the plasma is cold in nature, this requirement is minimal.

Data obtained in tests with the plasma fuel reformer indicate that ~1 – 3 % of the energy content of the fuel is required to provide electricity to the plasma reformation process (assuming a 50% efficient fuel cell). The percentage is smaller as the fuel cell becomes larger.

The active species generated by the plasma act in much the same way as a solid catalyst by reducing the energy of activation and thus increasing the chemical reaction rate under Arrhenius’s law.

compact plasma fuel reformer

Compact, 10-kWe JP-8 Reformer

The cold plasma unit has several advantages, including:

  • Sulfur tolerance – no catalytic deactivation over time
  • Fuel flexibility – can operate on any commonly available fuel
  • Variable orientation – can be oriented to fit within restricted space
  • Compact size – highly energetic reaction zone
  • Low thermal mass – quick start since there is no catalyst mass to heat
  • Variable operating mode – can start in POx mode and switch to steam reforming
  • Low electric power requirements

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