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Title: Non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma for remediation of volatile organic compounds
Author: Abd Allah, Zaenab
ISNI:       0000 0004 2721 0067
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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Non-thermal plasma generated in a dielectric barrier packed-bed reactor has been used for the remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds. Chlorinated VOCs are important air pollutant gases which affect both the environment and human health. This thesis uses non-thermal plasma generated in single and multiple packed-bed plasma reactors for the decomposition of dichloromethane (CH2Cl2, DCM) and methyl chloride (CH3Cl). The overall aim of this thesis is to optimize the removal efficiency of DCM and CH3Cl in air plasma by investigating the influence of key process parameters. This thesis starts by investigating the influence of process parameters such as oxygen concentration, initial VOC concentration, energy density, and plasma residence time and background gas on the removal efficiency of both DCM and CH3Cl. Results of these investigations showed maximum removal efficiency with the addition of 2 to 4 % oxygen to nitrogen plasma. Oxygen concentrations in excess of 4 % decreased the decomposition of chlorinated VOCs as a result of ozone and NOx formation. This was improved by adding an alkene, propylene (C3H6), to the gas stream. With propylene additives, the maximum remediation of DCM was achieved in air plasma. It is thought that adding propylene resulted in the generation of more active radicals that play an important role in the decomposition process of DCM as well as a further oxidation of NO to NO2. Results in the single bed also showed that increasing the residence time increased the removal efficiency of chlorinated VOCs in plasma. This was optimized by designing a multiple packed-bed reactor consisting of three packed-bed cells in series, giving a total residence time of 4.2 seconds in the plasma region of the reactor. This reactor was used for both the removal of DCM, and a mixture of DCM and C3H6 in a nitrogen-oxygen gas mixture. A maximum removal efficiency of about 85 % for DCM was achieved in air plasma with the use of three plasma cells and the addition of C3H6 to the gas stream. Nitrogen oxides are air pollutants which are formed as by-products during the decomposition of chlorinated VOCs in plasmas containing nitrogen and oxygen. Results illustrate that the addition of a mixture of DCM and C3H6 resulted in the formation of the lowest concentration of nitric oxide, whilst the total nitrogen oxides concentrations did not increase. A summary of the findings of this work is presented in chapter eight as well as further work. To conclude, the maximum removal efficiency of dichloromethane was achieved in air plasma with the addition of 1000 ppm of propylene and the use of three packed-bed plasma cells in series. The lowest concentration of nitric oxide was formed in this situation.
Supervisor: Coe, Hugh. ; Martin, Philip. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Non-thermal plasma ; Air pollution remediation ; Volatile organic compounds ; VOCs ; Dichloromethane ; DCM ; CH2Cl2 ; Methyl chloride ; CH3Cl ; Packed-bed plasma reactor ; Multiple packed-beds ; CHEMKIN II