Prof Xin Tu v2

Inaugural Lecture of Professor Xin Tu

5:00pm - 7:00pm / Tuesday 14th May 2024 / Venue: Electrical Engineering & Electronics
Type: Lecture / Category: Department / Series: Liverpool Women in Science and Engineering
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Plasma Electrification: An Emerging Solution for Decentralised Production of Fuels and Chemicals

Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has been regarded as a promising electrification technology for the synthesis of fuels and chemicals from a range of carbon and nitrogen sources such as CH4, CO2, biomass, plastics and nitrogen. In NTPs, the gas kinetic temperature can be as low as room temperature, while the electrons are highly energetic (1-10 eV), which is sufficient to activate strong chemical bonds of inert molecules (e.g., CO2, CH4 and N2) and produce a variety of reactive species including radicals and excited species for chemical reactions. This unique non-equilibrium character of NTP offers the potential to enable thermodynamically unfavourable reactions to proceed at ambient conditions. Furthermore, plasma processes can be instantaneously switched on and off, offering great flexibility in decentralised production of fuels and chemicals using renewable energy sources, particularly intermittent renewable energy. Combining NTP with heterogeneous catalysis holds immense potential to achieve a synergistic effect via the physicochemical interactions between the plasma and catalysts. This interaction can activate catalysts at low temperatures, enhancing their activity and stability, leading to a remarkable increase in conversion, selectivity, and yield of end-products, as well as improving energy efficiency. This presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities in plasma-driven chemical reactions for decentralised synthesis of fuels and chemicals.