Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Plasma-Hydrocarbon conversion

Idaho National Laboratory

Contact INL About This Technology

Technology Marketing Summary

INL’s Plasma-Hydrocarbon Conversion process enables conversion of heavy hydrocarbons, such as heavy crude oil and hydrocarbon gases like natural gas, into lighter hydrocarbon materials (e.g. synthetic light oil).

Description

It can convert hydrocarbon gases to liquid fuels/chemicals.  The dielectric barrier discharge plasma process that adds carbon and hydrogen simultaneously to heavy oil. The final product includes enriched synthetic light oil, which can be acceptable to conventional refineries, and transportation fuels such as gasoline or diesel fuel. This process enhances the rate of methane activation for conversion to liquid oxygenated hydrocarbons and other light fuels.

            It offers systems and methods for the conversion of these low market value raw materials to high market value commodities, e.g. synthetic fuels/chemicals.

Benefits

-        A method for producing underutilized low market value heavy oil and natural gas resources to meet current energy needs,

-        Improves the rate of methane activation for conversion to liquid oxygenated hydrocarbons and other light fuels, and  

-        Eliminates the problems of conventional conversion processes and achieves significant gas conversion and liquid yield in a single step.

Applications and Industries

Heavy oil, light oil, hydrocarbons, natural gas, carbon, convert

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 6,896,854
Patent
6,896,854
Nonthermal plasma systems and methods for natural gas and heavy hydrocarbon co-conversion
A reactor for reactive co-conversion of heavy hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon gases and includes a dielectric barrier discharge plasma cell having a pair of electrodes separated by a dielectric material and passageway therebetween. An inlet is provided for feeding heavy hydrocarbons and other reactive materials to the passageway of the discharge plasma cell, and an outlet is provided for discharging reaction products from the reactor. A packed bed catalyst may optionally be used in the reactor to increase efficiency of conversion. The reactor can be modified to allow use of a variety of light sources for providing ultraviolet light within the discharge plasma cell. Methods for upgrading heavy hydrocarbons are also disclosed.
Idaho National Laboratory 05/24/2005
Issued
Patent 6,804,950
Patent
6,804,950
Plasma reforming and partial oxidation of hydrocarbon fuel vapor to produce synthesis gas and/or hydrogen gas
Methods and systems are disclosed for treating vapors from fuels such as gasoline or diesel fuel in an internal combustion engine, to form hydrogen gas or synthesis gas, which can then be burned in the engine to produce more power. Fuel vapor, or a mixture of fuel vapor and exhaust gas and/or air, is contacted with a plasma, to promote reforming reactions between the fuel vapor and exhaust gas to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas, partial oxidation reactions between the fuel vapor and air to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas, or direct hydrogen and carbon particle production from the fuel vapor. The plasma can be a thermal plasma or a non-thermal plasma. The plasma can be produced in a plasma generating device which can be preheated by contact with at least a portion of the hot exhaust gas stream, thereby decreasing the power requirements of the plasma generating device.
Idaho National Laboratory 10/19/2004
Issued
Patent 7,494,574
Patent
7,494,574
Methods for natural gas and heavy hydrocarbon co-conversion
A reactor for reactive co-conversion of heavy hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon gases and includes a dielectric barrier discharge plasma cell having a pair of electrodes separated by a dielectric material and passageway therebetween. An inlet is provided for feeding heavy hydrocarbons and other reactive materials to the passageway of the discharge plasma cell, and an outlet is provided for discharging reaction products from the reactor. A packed bed catalyst may optionally be used in the reactor to increase efficiency of conversion. The reactor can be modified to allow use of a variety of light sources for providing ultraviolet light within the discharge plasma cell. Methods for upgrading heavy hydrocarbons are also disclosed.
Idaho National Laboratory 02/24/2009
Issued
Patent 7,008,970
Patent
7,008,970
Method for direct conversion of gaseous hydrocarbons to liquids
A chemical reactor for direct conversion of hydrocarbons includes a dielectric barrier discharge plasma cell and a solid oxide electrochemical cell in fluid communication therewith. The discharge plasma cell comprises a pair of electrodes separated by a dielectric material and passageway therebetween. The electrochemical cell comprises a mixed-conducting solid oxide electrolyte membrane tube positioned between a porous cathode and a porous anode, and a gas inlet tube for feeding oxygen containing gas to the porous cathode. An inlet is provided for feeding hydrocarbons to the passageway of the discharge plasma cell, and an outlet is provided for discharging reaction products from the reactor. A packed bed catalyst may optionally be used in the reactor to increase efficiency of conversion. The reactor can be modified to allow use of a light source for directing ultraviolet light into the discharge plasma cell and the electrochemical cell.
Idaho National Laboratory 03/07/2006
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
6606855 (LIT-PI-579), 6804950 (LIT-PI-579D1), 6896854 (B-118), 7494574 (B-118D1), 5427747 (615), 7008970 (B-119D1)ProductionAvailable09/04/201209/04/2012

Contact INL About This Technology

To: Ryan Bills<Ryan.Bills@inl.gov>