ACS Sustain Chem Eng. 2022 Jul 11;10(27):8958-8969. doi: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c02495. Epub 2022 Jun 30.
Biomass gasification is a promising and sustainable process to produce renewable and CO2-neutral syngas (H2 and CO). However, the contamination of syngas with tar is one of the major challenges to limit the deployment of biomass gasification on a commercial scale. Here, we propose a hybrid plasma-catalytic system for steam reforming of tar compounds over honeycomb-based catalysts in a gliding arc discharge (GAD) reactor. The reaction performances were evaluated using the blank substrate and coated catalytic materials (γ-Al2O3 and Ni/γ-Al2O3). Compared with the plasma alone process, introducing the honeycomb materials in GAD prolonged the residence time of reactant molecules for collision with plasma reactive species to promote their conversions. The presence of Ni/γ-Al2O3 gave the best performance with the high conversion of toluene (86.3%) and naphthalene (75.5%) and yield of H2 (35.0%) and CO (49.1%), while greatly inhibiting the formation of byproducts. The corresponding highest overall energy efficiency of 50.9 g/kWh was achieved, which was 35.4% higher than that in the plasma alone process. Characterization of the used catalyst and long-term running indicated that the honeycomb material coated with Ni/γ-Al2O3 had strong carbon resistance and excellent stability. The superior catalytic performance of Ni/γ-Al2O3 can be mainly ascribed to the large specific surface area and the in situ reduction of nickel oxide species in the reaction process, which promoted the interaction between plasma reactive species and catalysts and generated the plasma-catalysis synergy.