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Progress in Plasma Processing of Materials, 1997

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Aud N. Waernes
SINTEF Materials Technology, N-7034 Trondheim, Norway

Ola Raaness
SINTEF Materials Technology, N-7034 Trondheim, Norway

Steinar Lynum
Kværner Engineering a.s, P.O.Box 222, N-1324 Lysaker, Norway


A plasma process developed by SINTEF Materials Technology in collaboration with Kværner, decomposes hydrocarbons directly into carbon and hydrogen. These two elements are in great demand in the market in their purified forms. Carbon Black is widely used in vehicle tires, paints, varnishes, toners and additives for the metallurgical industry. The main consumer of hydrogen is today the production of ammonia. Hydrogen is regarded as the energy carrier of the future. In addition to being highly energy efficient, this process utilizes 100% of the raw materials. A plasma torch provides the necessary energy for thermal decomposition of hydrocarbons. The process is flexible and can utilize any kind of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons. Compared to traditional production methods for Carbon Black and hydrogen, this process does not emit C02 or NOx. The process has been tested both in pilot scale and industrial-scale pilot plant, and is now ready for commercialization. The construction of an industrial plant will probably start this year.