I am trying to understand how to make generation of electrical power more efficient by using Faraday's law to directly convert the kinetic energy of the ionized or easily ionizable exhaust gases of combustion (oxidation of hydrocarbons or to make things simpler just hydrogen) into electrical energy. In this system, the only real moving parts would be the motion of the ionized or plasma exhaust gas medium through the surrounding faraday coils. We may need a fan to coax the pre-combustion gases in a linear flow. The usable current would be induced in the Faraday coils from the accelerating or decelerating ionized gas from the exhaust.

My main question is how to completely ionize the exhaust gases at the point of combustion. My understanding is that these are already ionized at the instant of combustion but rapidly de-ionize when the oxidation reduction process is complete.


1 Answer 1


Hydrocarbon combustion does produce ions, due to chemiionization mechanisms. This does make flames more highly ionized than other gases at the same temperature. That having been said, the concentration of ions is still very small (rarely more than $10^{-6}$ by volume). You can augment this somewhat with metal salts but even that has limits. Approaching complete ionization is unlikely.

Not saying you can't generate some amount of electricity this way, it just may not be very efficient.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Dan, I did not realize the ion concentrations are so low in a flame..Can you pls cite the source of this information? I am trying to figure out flame chemistry and dynamics. Many thanks again. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 3:44
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    $\begingroup$ MHD generators intended to recover work in this manner from power plant exhaust gases have been researched for many years. Try a search for "MHD topping cycle". $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 2:35

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