Literature list

With basis found in historic documents – coupled with reverse engineering – our aim is to prove that Professor Birkeland’s electric arc process can be significantly improved.

The electric arc is a technology with a story.  Already in the 1920s the level of understanding and insight among scholars were high.  A lot was discovered, tested and clarified early last century.  Which means literature studies today are key for hitting the ground running in most matters related to this exceptionally potent technology.

Within a few of the segments listed below we may unfortunately not link to the source.  Let us know if you lack anything and we will try to make the information available to you.


Literature list (work in progress):

1.   Professor Birkeland and BASF patents granted in Norway. (1903-1908)


2.  Historical papers and experiments (1903-1920)


  • Beitrage zur Theorie der Stickoxydbildung im elektrischen Lichtbogenofen von Olaf Jensen. Concluding that the band of 2800-3000 K, is limiting the yield close to the thermal equilibrium. Also calculating the very favorable total dissociation situation at 4500 K giving a theoretical energy yield of 100 GJ/tN* (*dissociated N)
  • Kristian Birkeland, Research trials from Frognerkilen. Testing of a variety of reactors where the arc is moved by means of a strong magnetic field. Best energy yield 160 GJ/tN.
  • BASF, Testing with quenching into capillary tubes.

3.  Historical books and summary papers (1920-1930)


  • Harry Pauling, 1929, Electriche Luftverbrennung (document size of 196 pages exceeds the loading capabilities of the website)

4.  Recent technology concepts (1945–1990)


  • Plasma formation:
    1. Thermal equilibrium and at +4000 Kelvin with various quenching techniques.
    2. Thermal equilibrium at 3000 K with heat recovery and preheating.
    3. High-pressure equilibrium with various quenching techniques.
  • Quenching techniques:
    1. Direct contact quenching
    2. Quenching with air, nitrogen or oxygen.
    3. Quenching with pebbles in fluidized bed systems
    4. Quenching with water spay
    5. Quenching in adiabatic expansion, laminar N-plasma jet.

5.  Modern plasma theory (1990-     )


  • Detailed determination of all electronic energy levels of plasma components and thermal energy levels of all heavy gas/plasma bodies.
  • Specific electron energy and electron energy distribution related to the electrical and magnetic field and physical conditions of the gas.
  • Reaction paths with rates and equilibrium conditions valid for a large range
  • CFD modelling able to deal with different phases.

6.  N2 Applied’s evaluation of potential (2010-   )


  • The enthalpy change reflecting the theoretical lowest energy consumption for making NO gas from air is 6,4 GJ/tN.
  • The theoretical and practically demonstrated lowest energy input for making the right plasma components in the reaction path from air to NO is 20 GJ/tN.
  • The breakdown of air at atmospheric pressure takes place at 30 kV/cm at atmospheric pressure corresponding to a reduced field strength of 130 Td.
  • The cheapest way to achieve 130Td is a combination of lower pressure and higher temperature.

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