Advancing towards a circular chemical industry using the latest generation of plasma processes

By 23 April 2021Article

The aim is that by 2050, a large proportion of the processes and plants on the Chemelot site will be powered by sustainable electricity and that this will make it possible to reduce CO2 emissions by a substantial margin. Brightsite’s program ‘Reduction of emissions by electrification’ is investigating the possibilities that exist for turning this into reality. Plasma technology is one of the major options currently being examined. We want to develop new generations of plasma processes that are more efficient and an important step towards a circular chemical industry. 

Obtaining climate goals

One of the areas of focus at Brightsite is the development and use of technologies to reduce emissions, by means of electrification. As Arnold Stokking, Managing Director of Brightsite explains: “CO2 emissions must come down. That is clear, but it isn’t easy to achieve. Plasma technology will make it possible to replace the use of natural gas as an energy source for processes and that is why it forms an important avenue to achieve our climate targets. This is what makes plasma activation an important technology for Brightsite, both when it comes to adapting the processes being used in production plants and also for the latest generation of researchers and engineers who are developing this technology and putting it to work. It was with this in mind that prof. dr. Gerard van Rooij was appointed as Professor of Plasma Chemistry in 2020. His appointment is Maastricht University’s (UM) first appointment within Brightsite.”

Plasma technology, how does it work?

Plasma is also referred to as the fourth state of aggregation, alongside liquid, solid and gas. Subjecting a gas to an electrical field of sufficient strength creates conditions for gas particles to become ionized. This ionized gas consists of gas molecules and reactive particles, such as ions, electrons and radicals. That combination of reactive particles then makes (new) chemical reactions possible. In the heart of this electrical flame, the heart of the plasma cloud, the temperature is extremely high. Under these conditions, molecules can be split and formed very quickly. Due to the fact that a plasma flame is generated using electrical energy, the process is very sustainable when green electricity is used.

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Hans Linden
Program Manager
+31 (0)6 520 526 96

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The future outlook is that in 2050 the majority of all processes and installations in the chemical industry are powered by renewable electricity. Brightsite stands for the development and upscaling of these technologies and the conversion of expertise into a revenue model. Do you want to contribute to this program, or do you want to make use of our services?