Aramco offered the testing equipment to interested parties via OGIC. The University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering put in a request for the generator to assist with a project that is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPRSC).
The plasma generator drives the creation of electrical discharges that can lead to formation of plasma. Within the plasma, gas mixtures can be converted to a variety of other species.
The equipment is currently being set up in the university’s catalyst laboratories where it will be modified for application in non-thermal, plasma-related catalysis involving the activation of small molecules such as methane, water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, for research and teaching purposes.
Professor Jim Anderson, from the School of Engineering, said: “Not only will the equipment be used as part of our current EPRSC-funded project looking at water-gas shift reaction, but we will also look to apply the generator to other industrially important areas of research, including processes related to petrochemical production and upstream oil and gas.
This could include the further upgrading of methane, which is present in large amounts in natural gas. Offshore stranded natural gas accounts for a large part of the world’s reserves: the plasma-catalysis concept could allow development of efficient and modular conversion systems suitable for the exploitation of such reserves.