Modeling plasma reactors for chemical process applications

Microwave plasma reactors have the potential to enable storage of green renewable electricity into fuels and chemicals. There are, however, some challenges to overcome before this technology can be implemented in large scale industrial applications. Among others, the increase of energy efficiency and scalability of the reactors are two well-known challenges hindering the development of the technology.

Purely experimental techniques have proven to be insufficient to cope with these challenges and therefore numerical models are becoming essential to get insights into the process for optimization purposes. Plasma chemistry in non-equilibrium conditions is usually the most challenging and complex component of the model due to the large number of species and reactions involved. The reduction of chemical kinetics is therefore essential to facilitate the implementation of complex plasma chemistries.

For the specific case of CO2 dissociation in a non-equilibrium microwave plasma a methodology for the reduction of the vibrational kinetics will be developed. The resulting reactions kinetics model will be further implemented in a plasma model. The plasma reactor’s model should be able to predict the performance (conversion and efficiency) under different process and plasma conditions. Such a model will be a great tool for the optimization of plasma reactors in industrial processes.