Host institution: University of York (UoY)
Supervisor: Timo Gans
Start date: September 2019
Gross salary: ~27 000 € /year (may vary according to institution).

Title: CO2 dissociation for value-added products at atmospheric pressure using tailored radio-frequency and nanosecond pulsed power input


Non-equilibrium electrical plasma induced conversion of ‘waste’ products into value-added products has many advantages over conventional thermal conversion processes. This project will investigate the chemical kinetics of CO2 dissociation for effective and efficient CO production at atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasmas can be generated using different electrical power coupling technologies. Radio-frequency power delivery in the MHz range produces a controllable homogeneous continuous discharge particularly well suited for fundamental investigations of the plasma dynamics and associated chemical kinetics. Nanosecond pulsed power delivery is particularly promising for cost efficient and flexible plasma generation at atmospheric pressure. In this project we will investigate both of these power delivery techniques and translate new insight from fundamental understanding towards industrially relevant technological concepts. We will employ state-of-the-art diagnostics, in particular direct optical measurements of the electron dynamics, chemical kinetics and transient composition, including measurements of CO2, CO, O3, and O using UV and IR absorption as well as picosecond laser spectroscopy directly resolving the collisional processes of excited states on relevant ultrafast time scales as required at atmospheric pressure. The kinetics of vibrationally excited molecules is expected to play a key role in the conversion efficiency with a strong dependence on the electron dynamics and associated transient electron energy distribution function. We will explore various concepts for precise control of the electron dynamics based on specific power delivery using multi-frequency and tailored voltage waveform techniques.

Links with other ESRs: measurements performed with coating of catalysts developed in working area of Advanced catalyst for CO2 activation under plasma exposure

Expected Results:

  • Understanding the influence of electron dynamics on the chemical kinetics and associated dissociation pathways of CO2
  • Optimisation of plasma control strategies for effective and efficient conversion using tailored power input essential to choose the design of most appropriate plasma source for coupling with catalysts
  • Translation of gained fundamental knowledge towards industrially relevant technologies

Co-supervisor: Ana Sobota(TU/e-EPG), 18 months complementary expertise in atmospheric pressure plasmas and especially nanosecond discharges that will be compared with the RF discharge from UoY . The field measurements under plasma exposure performed at TU/e-EPG under A. Sobota supervision will be completed by measurements of the chemical species adsorbed on the surface by Infrared absorption technique developed at LPP for plasma/catalyst coupling studies.

Industrial partner: A secondment is planned with Solayl for accurate determination of injected and consumed power in both ns and RF discharges (2 months)