Plasma-assisted catalysis for ammonia synthesis in a dielectric barrier discharge reactor: Key surface reaction steps and potential causes of low energy yield

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Abstract

Ammonia synthesis experiments were carried out in a coaxial dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor packed with several different supports and metal catalysts. There was a marked increase in the reaction rate, over that obtained in an empty DBD plasma reactor, upon introduction of a packed bed of γ-Al2O3, Ru/γ-Al2O3, or SiO2 particles. The difference in the reaction rates over γ-Al2O3 and Ru/γ-Al2O3 was minimal. Complementary zero-dimensional plasma kinetic model analysis was also performed using inputs from experimental data. This kinetic analysis allowed for gas phase reactions, Eley-Rideal (E-R) reactions, and direct adsorption of radical species on the γ-Al2O3 surface. On the metal surface, dissociative adsorption of N2 and H2, and Langmuir-Hinshelwood reactions were also included. This analysis revealed that, under the conditions of our experiments, ammonia synthesis proceeds principally by the formation of reactive radicals in the gas phase, which then adsorb and participate in E-R reactions on both the metal and support material surfaces. This finding illustrates a challenge for substantially increasing the energy yield for plasma-assisted ammonia synthesis in typical DBD reactors containing packed catalyst beads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number055202
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 3 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

Keywords

  • ammonia synthesis
  • dielectric barrier discharge
  • kinetic modeling
  • plasma catalysis

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