Non-thermal plasma synthesis of organic feedstock from carbon dioxide and nitrogen



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The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate that poses harm to the environment, with the full extent of consequences unexplored. The rising population and increasing burning of fossil fuels over the past centuries is draining natural resources while contributing to deteriorating air quality. Exploration of alternative energy generation is ongoing, although increasing levels of CO2 remain in the atmosphere until reacted or extracted. Plasma, an ionized gas considered the fourth state of matter, is examined in this research as a method of reacting CO2 and N2 to produce carbon and nitrogen-based products of intrinsic value. A custom non-thermal plasma system was designed using a high voltage power supply, chemical-resistant tubing, brass supports, and a grounding system. The conductive materials copper and tungsten were tested to determine plasma activation capability, the ability to maintain stable plasma, and the lifetime of the metals. There are several advantages to the system designed in this research, the primary being that a CO2 reduction of 33% was achieved. In addition, the lifetime and reusability of all materials was considered as to meet Green Chemistry project aims. Using Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) and Residual Gas Analysis with Mass Spectrometry (RGA-MS), the products from a CO2 plasma include carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen (O2). Trials with a CO2 and nitrogen (N2) plasma suggest that production of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), CO and O2 is possible. Raman spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were utilized to characterize the electrode conditions.



Physics, Fluid and Plasma Chemistry