CO2 reforming

I am the PI of project PREMiERE (CO2 Plasmas: a fRiEndly MEdium for Renewable Energy.

The reduction of fossil fuel consumption and of CO2 emission is one of the key challenges for the next decades. Hydrocarbon-based chemical fuels are currently the dominant form of energy storage, due to their high energy density. These fuels can still be part of a renewable energy driven system, as long as the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by burning them is recaptured and recycled. PREMiERE explores a course of action where the excess electrical power produced by solar or wind generators is converted and stored into hydrocarbon fuels, thus replacing fossil fuels by renewable fuels

The limiting step in the process is CO2 dissociation. This is a strongly endothermic process, which makes it difficult to activate CO2 efficiently by conventional thermal and catalytic reaction processes. Nonequilibrium plasma technologies are in a good position to give the answer to this problem. In short, the nonequilibrium nature of plasma allows for energetically efficient CO2 dissociation, with input of vibrational quanta in low levels and subsequent pumping during relaxation.

Representative papers

Last update: May 2019