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Removal of toluene as a biomass tar surrogate in a catalytic nonthermal plasma process

Xu, Bin; Xie, Jianjun; Zhan, Hao; Yin, Xiuli; Wu, Chuangzhi; Liu, Hao


Bin Xu

Jianjun Xie

Hao Zhan

Xiuli Yin

Chuangzhi Wu

Professor of Energy Engineering


In this study, a packed-bed dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor was developed to investigate the removal of biomass tar in a fuel gas atmosphere. Toluene was used as the tar surrogate, and the catalyst used was a Nickel-based catalyst (Ni/γ-Al2O3) because of its high activity and low cost. In addition, another two kinds of packing materials (glass pellets and γ-Al2O3 pellets) were employed to make a comparison with the Ni/γ-Al2O3 catalyst. The research has focused on the removal efficiency of toluene and the effects of carrier gas, reaction temperature, Ni loading, and concentration of toluene. The results indicated that two supplementary packing materials could not realize an effective removal of toluene. On the contrary, Ni/γ-Al2O3 combined with plasma showed a significant synergetic effect and hence a great toluene removal potential. On one hand, the removal efficiency initially decreased within the temperature range of 200–300 °C and then significantly increased within the temperature of 300–400 °C during plasma-catalytic process. At the optimal temperature of 400 °C, the toluene removal efficiency could reach the maximum values of 80.2%, 91.7%, and 100.0% when the Ni loading was 3, 5, and 10 wt %, respectively. On the other hand, an increase in the inlet toluene concentration slightly reduced removal efficiency but increased the energy efficiency, reaching the highest value of 16.8 g/kWh. The introduction of plasma enhanced the methanation reaction of the fuel gas occurring in the catalytic process, which was favorable at high temperatures. Based on these findings, the mechanisms and pathways of toluene destruction in the plasma-catalytic process were proposed and elucidated.


Xu, B., Xie, J., Zhan, H., Yin, X., Wu, C., & Liu, H. (2018). Removal of toluene as a biomass tar surrogate in a catalytic nonthermal plasma process. Energy and Fuels, doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.8b02444. ISSN 0887-0624

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2018
Publication Date Sep 21, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 10, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 22, 2019
Journal Energy & Fuels
Print ISSN 0887-0624
Electronic ISSN 1520-5029
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords tar removal; non-thermal plasma; toluene; plasma-catalytic process; Ni/γ-Al2O3 catalyst
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Energy and Fuels, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see


Removal of toluene as a biomass tar surrogate in a catalytic nonthermal plasma process (595 Kb)

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