ESR 13

Host institution: Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e – PMP)
Supervisor: Richard Engeln
Start date: September 2019
Gross salary: ~27 000 € /year (may vary according to institution).

Title: Investigating methods to vibrationally excite CO2 with plasma


The panacea for efficient CO2 dissociation is vibrational excitation of CO2, preferentially through the a-symmetric stretch vibration, the ν3. Over the past few years, quite some groups have been trying several plasma routes to efficiently pump CO2-molecules into vibrational states. The main driver of this research is the idea that if efficient dissociation of CO2 is possible, new routes to convert this greenhouse gas into a so-called solar fuel would open up. Triggered by the research efforts on CO2 lasers, we will explore the possibilities of admixing nitrogen to the CO2 plasma to enhance the dissociation efficiency. The aim is to study the plasma chemistry by applying laser-based diagnostic techniques to different CO2-N2 plasmas (TU/e) in parallel with a modeling effort (Lisbon). The diagnostic techniques can be used to determine the absolute densities of molecular species, like CO2, CO and O2, and atomic species like O and N, at high spatial and temporal resolution. The model predictions can be compared with these measurements and used to interpret and understand the discharge. When a firm basis of the plasma chemistry has been established, other phenomena may be investigated, such as the effects on the conversion of CO2 of trace amounts of water and helium, or of different surfaces of catalysts developed in the consortium

Links with other ESRs: Comparison with modeling results from ESR 2-4, comparison of efficiency obtained without N2 in other ESRs, use of CO2/N2 plasma in contact with catalyst developed in ESRs 6-10

Expected Results:

  • Determining the densities of atomic and molecular species in the CO2/N2 plasma
  • Understanding the importance of the presence of atomic and molecular species in the CO2/N2 plasma on the vibrational excitation
  • Understanding if and how the addition of N2 to a pure CO2 plasma affects the vibrational excitation in CO2
  • Firm basis for a comparison between the plasma-chemistry-model and experiment.

Co-supervisor: Vasco Guerra (IST – IPFN), 18 months Coupling of CO2 vibrational kinetics with N2 vibrational kinetics will be done at IST-IPFN

Industrial partner: AFS, Florian Brehmer, possibility and safety constraints of high power sources (1.5 months)