Marzia Faedda

My name is Marzia and I am from the sunny city of Cagliari, Italy. I have lived there until 2016, when I graduated in my Bachelor Course in Physics. Then, I decided to move to Turin to continue my studies and deepen my knowledge in the physics of matter. I strongly believe that one of the main goals of scientific research should be to face the immediate problems of our society, as nowadays are the urge of sustainability and the emergency of climate change. Therefore, from the very beginning my greatest aspiration has been to do research in those fields, which led me to deepen my knowledge on renewable energy, molecular and solid state physics and, eventually, to do my Master’s thesis at the Italian Institute of Technology on nanostructured materials for the catalysis of carbon dioxide.

Currently I’m a Ph.D. student at AGH University in Krakow, as part of the European MSCA PIONEER program. My goal is to find a new catalyst for reforming processes that are coupled with plasma, in the frame of plasma-assisted carbon dioxide recycling. This means that we will treat flue gases that contain the most pollutant greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, in order to remove them from the environment and convert them into more valuable chemicals, with the aid of plasma. Taking part in this ambitious project gives me the opportunity to take action myself for a cause that I hold dear and to embrace it fully, with all of my commitment.

Overview Pioneer
ESR: 7
Title: Novel catalysts for plasma-assisted reforming processes
Home Institution: AGH University of Science and Technology (AGH-UST)
1st Supervisor: Monika Motak
Host Institution: University of Trento (UNITN)
2nd Supervisor: Paolo Tosi
Industrial Partner: ITRE
Industrial Contact: Monica Secco


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 ESR

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


  • UNITN: Use the catalysts produced in combination with plasma sources
  • ITRE: Taking into account real requirement of energy cost of industrial installations
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