Novel three-phase steam–air plasma torch for gasification of high-caloric waste

Significance Statement

   Steam plasma application is a very promising technology among plasma gasification technologies of organic raw materials (coal, rubber waste, etc.) and also plasma conversion of oil gas or methane in a mixture with carbon dioxide for the purpose of industrial synthesis gas production and manufacture of liquid synthetic fuels.     


Rutberg et al

Applied Energy, Volume 108, 2013, Pages 505-514.
Philip G. Rutberg, Vadim A. Kuznetsov, Evgeny O. Serba, Sergey D. Popov, Alexander V. Surov, Ghennady V. Nakonechny, Alexey V. Nikonov.

Institute for Electrophysics and Electric Power RAS, Dvortsovaya nab., 18, St.-Petersburg 191186, Russia.


Research results are presented for an AC electric arc that burns a mixture of steam and air in a three-phase high-voltage plasma torch and can be implemented to produce plasma for plastic waste gasification. The dependences of electric parameters on the ratio of the steam to air mass flows (H2O/air ∼1–6) at an approximately constant total mass flow of the plasma-forming gas are obtained during several experiments. During the experiments, the arc parameters were as follows: voltage drop of 1.0–1.8 kV, current of ∼28.5 A and power of ∼52–86 kW. The thermal efficiency of the plasma torch was ∼94–95%. CCD cameras operating at 4000 fps were used to determine the average discharge length of ∼798 mm. Photography with a high shutter speed (1/8000 s) was used to determine the average arc diameter (∼4.47 mm). Arc temperatures were calculated (10,000–11,500 K) using the thermodynamic equilibrium approach. Experimental results indicate that increases in the steam content of the steam–air plasma lead to a reduction of the arc’s temperature and electrical conductivity. Using an equilibrium approach, the main parameters of plasma gasification were estimated: syngas yield (3.62–3.48 m3/kg), composition (H2 – 55.5–62.5, CO – 32.8–34.1 vol.%) and energy consumption (11.0–12.3 MJ/kg).

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