'Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)'
An alternative process of extracting energy from fossil fuels (coal, biomass, hydrocarbons, etc.) without the emission of CO2 is possible with nonequilibrium plasma. Apart from CO and CO2, there exists carbon suboxide (C3O2) - a solid carbon oxide, which can be polymerized to form chemically and thermodynamically stable substances. This article describes a novel process of extracting the energy from fossil fuels without the emission of CO2 while producing hydrogen and carbon suboxide (a reddish, brown polymer), an important constituent of organic fertilizers. This approach has the capability of avoiding drawbacks associated with combustion of fossil fuels, such as CO2 emission. The conversion processes of a hydrocarbon feedstock (n-butane) and characterization of the byproduct of the conversion process with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy are discussed. Thermodynamic calculation of energy efficiencies of conversion of readily available hydrocarbon feedstocks such as biomass, natural gas, and low quality coal (lignite and peat) into hydrogen and carbon suboxide is also discussed. Thermodynamic results calculated show energy efficiency of up to 78% for producing carbon suboxide from various hydrocarbon feedstocks when compared to energy efficiency of producing syngas (100%)