Plasma catalysis is seen as a promising and emerging conversion technology that can be part of the solution in the transition to a circular, carbon neutral chemical production. Plasma catalysis is of particular interest in the conversion of relatively stable gases such as CO2 to basic chemical building blocks by the use of (renewable) electrical energy. In dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma reactor, the electrical energy is mainly transferred to highly energetic, accelerated electrons producing a cocktail of activated species such as ions, radicals and excited species. Nevertheless, although the alternative reaction paths of DBD plasma reactors show high potential in CO2 conversion, their current Achilles heel is its lack of product selectivity and limited energy efficiency. To solve this, packing materials and catalysts are being introduced in the plasma. Although it is well accepted that there is a mutual interaction of the materials on the plasma properties and vice versa, the underlying mechanisms and even more, the specific material properties influencing plasma conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency are still largely unknown.
Therefore, via the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Post-doctoral project of Surjyakanta Rana funded by EU, we are systematically studying the impact of materials on the plasma and vice versa via controlled material synthesis to identify key material aspects in plasma catalytic studies. This will permit a systematic structure-activity correlation, identifying the impact of yet unrevealed material properties on the plasma characteristics and performance (conversion, selectivity and energy efficiency), determined by the specific plasma environment.