Host institution: AGH – UST
Supervisor: Monika Motak
Start date: September 2019
Gross salary: ~27 000 € /year (may vary according to institution).

Title: Novel catalysts for plasma-assisted reforming processes                                                                


Chemical processing of CO2 treats this compound not as a harmful pollutant but as a source of carbon and may thus lead to the added-value products. The subject of PhD research concerns plasma-assisted reforming catalysts (e.g. dry reforming of methane, partial oxidation of methane, oxy-reforming of methane), the latter either separated from flue gases from power stations or without its separation. Thermodynamics studies published in literature showed that the process is feasible and may lead to high conversion of CO2 or CO. There are, however, very few experimental studies of catalysts appropriate for the process. Additionally, as two of three main reactions are highly endothermic, considerable amounts of energy are required. Plasma assisted processes could thus improve the energy balance.  The use of a plasma coupled with catalysts is a totally new approach to different reforming processes, which has not yet been considered. The planned milestones of the research are: (i) preparation and modification of novel catalysts, basing on layered materials containing Ni as active component, (ii) characterization of the obtained catalysts (texture, structure, redox and basic properties), (iii) the determination of  plasma-assisted catalytic activity, selectivity and stability, and (iv) the study of the influence of promoters on activity, selectivity and stability.  Two types of CO2-containing mixtures will be taken into account – separated from coal- or gas-fired power stations and obtained via (i) amine method, or (ii) adsorption method.

The PhD candidate will be trained in the methods of catalysts preparation and characterization at AGH and of plasma processes at UNITN. The PhD candidate will be supported in his/her studies on reaction mechanisms by both partners, which will contribute to his/her training.

Links with other ESRs: Influence of new catalysts for tri-reforming on plasma development will also be evaluated in ESR 1, 2 and 13 and comparison of efficiency with ESRs 6, 8-10

Expected Results:

  • preparation of novel catalyst/s for reforming processes
  • tailoring of the catalyst structure, allowing increased activity, selectivity and stability
  • selection of the conditions of catalytic (plasma-assisted) reaction
  • determination of the influence of flue gas poisons on the catalysts performance
  • Insight into the reaction mechanisms

Co-supervisor: Paolo Tosi (UNITN), 18 months to use the catalysts produced in combination with plasma sources.

Industrial partner: A secondment by ITRE is planned for taking into account real requirement of energy cost of industrial installations (2 months)