Host institution: Laboratoire de Catalyse & Spectroscopie
Supervisor: Federico Azzolina-Jury
Start date: June 2019
Gross salary: ~27 000 € /year (may vary according to institution).

Title: Efficient catalysts preparation for  plasma-assisted CO2 methanation                                                   


Chemical processing of CO2 may not only result in the production of important chemicals, but also be applied to store energy. One of such processes is CO2 methanation. Hydrogen for the reaction may be obtained from water electrolysis using off-peak, renewable or nuclear energy.  The subject of this work will be to study the reaction mechanism on new catalysts based on layered materials, such as hydrotalcites, clays etc. Hydrotalcites are especially interesting as their basicity and redox properties may be tailored through appropriate choice of preparation methods and elemental composition. Additionally, their thermal processing leads to homogenous mixture of nano-oxides with increased interaction of active material (in this case Ni) with MgO and alumina, resulting in improved stability. Hydrotalcites containing Ni, Mg and Al with varying molar ratios and promoters will be prepared by different procedures and characterized by XRD, FTIR, UV-VIS, TPR and TPD-CO2.

The planned milestones of the research are: (i) Preparation, modification and characterization (texture, structure, redox and basic properties) of novel catalysts, basing on layered materials containing Ni as active component, (ii) Determination of plasma-assisted catalytic activity, selectivity and stability of the materials prepared in (i).

The adsorbed species on the catalyst surface, both during adsorption or reactivity studies, will be followed by time-resolved Operando IR spectroscopy. LCS laboratory has already designed several plasma IR operando cells to this end. The catalyst wafer will be placed inside the reactor within discharge zone (plasma) perpendicularly to the IR beam. Both Glow-discharge and DBD discharge plasma assisted-cell/reactors were already conceived for mechanistic studies.

Links with other ESRs: influence of the layered support materials on plasma development will also be evaluated in ESR 1, 2,5 and 13 , direct comparison of material efficiency with ESRs 7-10

Expected Results:

  • Preparation of novel catalyst/s for the process CO2 methanation, and/or dry reforming of methane (DRM) with special focus on layered support and tenability of basicity and redox properties
  • Tailoring of the catalyst structure, allowing increased activity, selectivity and stability
  • Selection of the conditions of catalytic (plasma-assisted) reaction,
  • Determination of the reaction mechanism of the CO2 methanation and/or DRM reaction using the most efficient materials   

Co-supervisor: Monika Motak (AGH-UST), 18 months The PhD candidate will be trained in the methods of catalysts preparation and characterization at AGH and of plasma processes at CNRS (Caen). The PhD candidate will study the reaction mechanisms of the CO2 methanation and/or DRM reaction assisted by plasma in Caen, using the different materials prepared at AGH.

Additional secondment: Another secondment is planned at Sorbonne Université (SU) for comparison of conversion efficiency with standardized coupling reactor (2 months)