Onboard motorcycle plasma-assisted catalysis system - Role of plasma and operating strategy

Yu Chao, How Ming Lee, Shiaw Huei Chen, Moo Been Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Hydrogen as a supplementary fuel can be blended with gasoline/diesel to improve engine performance and reduce pollutant emission. A compact plasma-assisted catalysis (PAC) reformer designed as an onboard device for motorcycle was used to convert methane into a hydrogen-rich gas which then mixed with gasoline to fuel motorcycle engine. Performance of the PAC reformer for motorcycle operated in the cold start, normal idle and normal cruising periods were evaluated experimentally. In the cold start period, the catalyst-bed temperature can rise from 25 °C to >500 °C in 14 s with the assistance of plasma. In the normal operation mode, the goal is to achieve either a high power output in the cruising mode or a low energy consumption in the idle mode. With the power consumption of 32.4 W for plasma, the reforming efficiency was increased by 2%-16% at given conditions. Engine test results showed that the PAC reformer not only reduced CO and HC concentrations by 42% and 21%, respectively, but also enhanced the engine performance, e.g., the brake power increased by 14% and the gasoline consumption by 33%. This study confirmed that in the idle mode, the plasma can be turned off without sacrificing the PAC's performance. Overall speaking, the plasma plays a great role in the cold start, be minor in the cruising mode, and trivial in the idle mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6271-6279
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Methane reforming
  • Motorcycle
  • Onboard reformer
  • Plasma-assisted catalysis


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