Plasma reactor

The technology is an electric arc plasma process for making NO gas directly from air in a low capital investment process. The process is IPR protected by a conceptual process patent application and significantly improved from historical industrial scale.

The plasma reactor consists of electrodes arranged concentric with a perpendicular magnetic field for controlling the movement of the electric arc through the air in the annular space between the electrodes. As the arc is moving through the air it is creating a plasma phase of exited molecules and atoms as well as ions. The exited plasma phase has equilibrium of NO vs. N2 and O2 which is giving more NO than the thermodynamic equilibrium of the gas phase at the similar temperature. The thermal or sensible plasma temperature is low, and the materials used to contain the plasma and gas is normal high temperature steels.  The technology is combining low pressure, which is giving high intensity 130-150 Townsend at 2000 Kelvin in the arc, and excess air and water quenching giving retention times down to 10 microseconds.

The electrical energy consumption in the optimized version will be approximately 36GJ/tN, depending on degree of heat recovery. This will make the process competitive in all markets where natural gas is not abundantly available and cheap.

The cost of a 50 kw unit for producing NO gas will be USD 70000. In operation this will give capital cost of 200 USD/tN.

The dominating competing technology is ammonia based on fossil fuels, where the best practice energy consumption is 36 GJ/tN based on gas and 85 GJ/N based on coal. The capital cost for these units, give an operational capital cost of more than 300 USD/tN at world scale capacity.  In addition to the capital cost from production, comes significant logistical cost.

The primary product from an electric arc plasmareactor, NO gas, can go directly into the processes of the fertilizer industry. NO is the basis for nitric acid and nitrates. The nitrates and nitric acid has a high chemical and nutrient value in the industry compared to ammonia.

The technology can also be expanded to the secondary product nitric acid. The nitric acid can form the basis for local applications. In these applications the dilute acid production will be tailored and integrated with the receiving process.

N2 Applied is cooperating with SBI GmbH in Hollabrunn, Austria, in building the plasma reactor.

Link to website of SBI GmbH Hollabrunn Austria

Link to website of SBI GmbH Hollabrunn Austria

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