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Nitrogen Fixation by Non-equilibrium Plasmas
July 20, 2020 from 9:00 am — 10:00 am
Zoom Webinar with Anton Nikiforov
Department of Applied Physics
Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Atmospheric nitrogen conversion or nitrogen fixation (NF) is one of the most energy-demanding processes consuming more than 2% of worldwide produced energy. More efficient methods of N2 fixation have got renovate attention from many scientific communities. Nitrogen fixation aims to overcome limitations of the nowadays used industrial Haber-Bosch process, its high energy costs and environmental impact. Non-equilibrium plasma-based nitrogen fixation is a promising approach to convert atmospheric nitrogen into simple nitrogen compounds such as ammonia or nitrogen oxides. In plasma-assisted nitrogen fixation, the synthesis can be conducted at the ambient atmosphere using nitrogen from the air with or without a catalyst. The obvious challenge in reaching high energy efficiency is vibrational excitation of molecular nitrogen leading to the molecule dissociation. In this work, we present recent progress in the study of the plasma-based process of NF by 3 types of discharges with very different plasma properties: namely low electrical field gliding arc; high electrical field pulsed streamer discharge; and moderate E-field plasma jet, all operating at atmospheric pressure. Special attention is made on the analysis of the mechanisms of N2 dissociation and pathways of reactions which were studied based on laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy and plasma modelling approach. Finally, the energy efficiency of nitrogen fixation is compared with other methods of nitrogen fixation and future outlook in the field is presented with highlights of the main trends.
Anton Nikiforov received a Bachelor and Master degree in Chemistry from Russian State University of Chemistry and Technology. In 2004 he obtained a PhD from the Russian Academy of Sciences in the field of non-equlibrium plasma processes. From year 2009 he is with the Ghent University as a researcher at the Department of Applied Physics, Research Unit Plasma Technology. Main research activity of Dr. A. Nikiforov is essentially experimental work that focuses on the physics, engineering and applications of non-equilibrium (“cold”) atmospheric pressure plasmas. On-going physical studies bear on plasma-surface interactions, on plasmas with liquids and on the advanced diagnostics of non-equilibrium discharges. His publication output is more than 100 scientific papers in international journals cited in the Web of Science on diagnostics of non‐thermal plasmas and plasma processes, 4 books chapters and 1 book and more than 90 conferences participation in the field of physics and chemistry of non-equlibrium plasmas.
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