Researchers at U.T. Dallas are working to understand the electromagnetic fields that are created when an electric discharge generates a cold plasma. Understanding these fields and being able to control them, could lead to dramatic advances in the power industry that could have an influence not only on commercial and residential power but vehicular technologies as well.
Plasma can be defined as a quasi-neutral gas of charged and neutral particles characterized by a collective behavior. When an electric discharge occurs across an air gap, the kinetic energy released in the form of electrons and other free radicals collide with the fuel breaking it into ions. These ions will then reform into hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide.
Research at REVT
We are currently using this process to reform hydrocarbon fuels such as methane or ethanol alcohol into hydrogen gas. Using Cold Plasma for this reformation is more energy efficient and cost effective than steam reforming or electrolysis. When matched with a fuel cell or internal combustion vehicle, this technology could lead to a future of hydrogen power generation for homes and automobiles.