Brightsite Plasmalab recognises the potential of syngas and offers an attractive way to produce it


Syngas has huge potential to help make the chemicals industry more sustainable. This mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide has also piqued the interest of the Brightsite Plasmalab, which opened in November 2021. “The transition to a more sustainable chemical industry requires more than just recycling plastics — methane, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and biomass are also logical candidates for use in the production of all kinds of products. Plasma technology can help to make this a reality in a number of ways, in particular through the production of syngas”, reports Gerard van Rooij, Professor of Plasma Chemistry at Maastricht University.

A significant reduction in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions is absolutely essential in order to meet climate change targets. Plasma technology uses an electric flame to heat molecules to a high temperature, allowing them to be split and combined as desired. This technique can be used to convert CO₂ into carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen (O₂). “Alex van de Steeg, who I supervised and who recently graduated cum laude, has shown that CO₂ can be recycled efficiently using plasma technology. Converting that CO into usable products requires syngas — a mixture of CO and hydrogen (H₂). This is something we will be researching at the Brightsite Plasmalab. We are considering a number of options, including combining CO₂ with methane (CH4), which can ultimately be converted into syngas”, explains Van Rooij. Van Rooij and his colleagues have already been working with DIFFER to carry out research into syngas, which they would like to continue at the Brightsite Plasmalab in the near future. “Syngas has huge potential and plasma technology offers an attractive method for producing it. We are looking for partners to help us launch further research into syngas”, Van Rooij is keen to note.

Gerard Van Rooij, Professor of Plasma Chemistry at Maastricht University: 

“Syngas has potential and plasma technology is an attractive way to make it. We are looking for partners to set up syngas research.”

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