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Designing a non-thermal plasma reactor for catalytic reactions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The laboratory for Energy Intensified Reactor Engineering, together with several academic and industrial partners, performs an ongoing research on application of novel structured catalysts in flow reactors. Our new project aims at the design of a novel type of catalytic structured reactor plasma for (i) nitrogen fixation into ammonia or nitric oxides (NOx) and (ii) CO2 reduction into solar fuels and chemicals under non-thermal plasma conditions. Non-thermal plasma (NTP) is an ionized gas, created in mild conditions by applying electric energy to a gas, for example, a potential difference between two electrodes.

Studies on microelectrode design and micro-plasma are emerging. Micro-plasma arrays have already been described for applications in surface modification and sterilisation. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology provides a new way to manufacture objects with complicated structure and small dimension. In the case of catalyst preparation, a better control of catalyst structures and active component distribution can be achieved by using 3D printing. However, the technology is only at a preliminary stage of development and there are no developed protocols how to implement it to manufacture structure catalytic reactors.

The primary objective of this research is to determine the result of varying the heat and mass transport properties, which affect the design if the catalytic reactor operated under non-thermal plasma conditions. The temperature, concentration and velocity distribution will be obtained as a function of several design parameters (catalyst thermal conductivity, electric field strength, intrinsic reaction rate, etc.). Then several reactor configurations will be manufactured.

The catalytic reaction in the plasma reactors will be studied with gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS). The latter will define the gas conversion, product yields/selectivities and energy efficiency for the three model reactions, for a wide range of very well specified conditions (including gas flow rate, applied power, gas mixing ratio). The measurements of concentration profiles of key species over catalysts developed with and without plasma would be performed provide information on the effect of plasma and reactor optimisation studies.

Funding Notes

Eligibility: Candidates must have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent).

Funding: The annual stipend will be £20277 (tax free), for 3 years.


How to apply

Applicants should send a one page motivation letter together with their CV and academic transcript to

[email protected] with ‘PhD Application’ in the subject line.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Warwick in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 94.75

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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