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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/R000409/1
Title Plasma and Fluidic Assisted Electrocatalysis for Chemical Storage of Renewable Electricity
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Power and Storage Technologies(Energy storage) 30%;
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells(Fuel Cells, Stationary applications) 35%;
Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(CO2 Capture and Storage, CO2 capture/separation) 35%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 35%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Chemical Engineering) 30%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr R Elder
No email address given
Chemical and Process Engineering
University of Sheffield
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 September 2017
End Date 29 February 2020
Duration 30 months
Total Grant Value £201,381
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr R Elder , Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Professor R Allen , Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
Professor W Zimmerman , Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER), The Netherlands (0.000%)
Project Contact , Perlemax Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Our ambition is to couple electrocatalysis, plasma catalysis and fluidic oscillation to create a highly efficient energy conversion device and a paradigm shift in the ability to store renewable energy in chemical form.The reduction in carbon emissions required for a sustainable future, and the resultant necessary decarbonisation of energy generation, inevitably lead to an increased focus on renewable energy sources. The natural intermittency of renewable electricity, such as wind and solar, mean that other technologies, such as energy storage, must play an increasingly fundamental role by smoothing the natural fluctuations in electricity production. Reversible Solid Oxide Cells (SOCs) are widely seen as a leading technology for future clean power generation, chemicals production and energy storage. Renewable electricity can be utilised directly in electrolysis mode to reduce CO2 and/or H2O which can then be further reacted to produce a myriad of hydrocarbon related products. In times of low or no renewable electricity generation, the SOC can be run in reverse, in fuel cell mode, to produce electricity.There are currently no subsidy-free, commercially viable SOC companies anywhere in the world. Whilst single SOCs are easy to operate on a small scale in the laboratory, larger systems have found it difficult to compete with alternative energy technologies on cost, performance and durability. In particular, it is necessary to develop methods for lifetime extension of SOCs, minimisation of losses such as concentration polarisation, and faster chemical activation of CO2, using energy inputs close to the thermodynamic minimum.Non-thermal plasma catalysis has shown great potential for CO2 reduction in its own right due to the promotion of strongly endothermic reactions with low activation energy, so that little or no excess energy is required from the plasma for activation and thermodynamic efficiencies are high. The challenges are to dynamically control the reaction and to achieve high conversion. Fluidic oscillation can disrupt boundary layer formation and therefore minimise, or remove completely, concentration polarisation. Fluidic oscillation has never before been coupled to an SOC.We propose a novel, hybrid, plasma and fluidic assisted electrolysis system, in which the plasma is used to radically improve the kinetics and energy efficiency of CO2 dissociation. The system would be designed to reduce concentration polarisation, a cause of lowered mass transfer, at the electrode through fluidic oscillation to disrupt the gas boundary layer and by use of the ionic wind formed in plasmas (the gas flow generated by movement of ions in the plasma). Ultimately the aim is to create a completely new design of chemical reactor for strongly endothermic reactions. A significant reduction in overall energy use and cell failure rate will be achieved as a result of this feasibility research.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 04/02/19