Host institution: University of Zaragoza (CSIC – ICB)
Supervisor: Maria Victoria Navarro
Start date: September 2019
Gross salary: ~27 000 € /year (may vary according to institution).

Title: Nanostructured catalysts for plasma assisted CO2 methanation                                                            


Among the different processes for the catalytic valorization of CO2, methanation stands as a promising applicable technology. The association of a catalyst with non-thermal plasma has been recently considered as a tool for boosting CO/CO2 methanation since it is presumed that reactive species produced by plasma can change the rate-determining-step of the catalytic hydrogenation. For this process, nickel-based catalysts have been proposed as a reliable solution, being both nickel and support properties, key parameters on the performance of these catalysts. CeO2 could be a reliable support due to their remarkable redox properties, leading to an exceptional activity in conventional thermal CO2 methanation. The main objective for the ERS will be to determine the key physicochemical features of the catalytic materials that control their catalytic performance, both activity and stability, on the coupled plasma-catalytic process. Research activities will be focused on the development of Ni-based catalysts supported on nanostructured CeO2 with different morphologies such as polyhedral nanocrystals, nanorods or nanocubes produced by alkaline hydrothermal method and ordered mesoporous CeO2 prepared by nanocasting synthesis. The incorporation of Nickel catalytic phase will be carried out by different preparation methods (impregnation, deposition-precipitation) to tailor active site properties. The materials will be thoughtfully characterized by state-of-the-art techniques to analyze relevant nickel active site and support properties such as Ni dispersion, Ni and CeO2 crystallite size, catalyst surface area, CeO2 oxygen storage capacity, number of CeO2 oxygen defects or catalyst reducibility. Further application of catalysts on dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma assisted methanation will be studied with special attention on the effect of applied voltage, catalyst location and reaction temperature.

Links with other ESRs: influence of nanostructured CeO2 support materials on plasma will also be evaluated in ESR 1, 2 and 13 and comparison of efficiency with ESRs 6,7, 9,10

Expected Results:

  • Comprehend key parameters controlling the catalytic-plasma methanation process with Ni/CeO2 catalyst and DBD plasma.
  • Optimize the synthesis variables of catalysts to produce the determined solid properties that maximize the yield and stability of plasma assisted methanation at optimal reaction conditions.

Co-supervisor: Elena Galvez (SU) , 18 months , The ERS will be trained in the catalyst synthesis methods relating synthesis conditions with catalyst properties development at CSIC-ICB. The ERS will be trained as well in the use of plasma equipment and gas products analysis (GC) at SU. In addition, different tools will be provided to the ESR to analyze characterization results of catalysts.

Additional secondment: Another secondment is planned at CNRS-LPP for additional plasma diagnostic methods, especially on radicals (2 months)