Lobachevsky University scientists contribute to combating global warming
UNN scientists began experiments to decompose carbon dioxide using a plasmatron. An experimental bench for plasma-chemical synthesis based on powerful microwave radiation was developed at the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and is now installed at the UNN Faculty of Radiophysics. Researchers from the Laboratory of Intense Radiation Sources of Millimetre Range use this setup to investigate the decomposition of carbon dioxide which is the main source of the planet's greenhouse effect. This is one of the main goals in combating global warming and achieving carbon neutrality.
"We have already made the first successful launches of the plasmatron and observed a stable plasma plume with a temperature of up to 8000 degrees Сelsius. Under these conditions, most molecules break up into atoms and chemical reactions occur, which are impossible in other conditions," said the leader of the project Dr. Alexander Vodopyanov.
He noted that in 2020 Nizhny Novgorod scientists set a world record for the degree of conversion of carbon dioxide in plasma discharges, which is determined by the proportion of reacted CO2 molecules in the radiation stream. The new experimental bench is expected to further increase the efficiency of the process.
The plasma-assisted method also opens the way to the environmentally friendly production of nitric acid directly from air and water.
"Millions of tonnes of nitric acid are produced globally every year, with huge amounts of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. With the help of plasma, it is possible to fix nitrogen from air and water, thus excluding harmful ammonia production from nitric acid synthesis," said Alexander Vodopyanov.
According to scientists, the use of renewable energy sources to power the plasmatron will make nitric acid production a completely environmentally friendly process.
The project is being implemented as part of the Priority 2030 federal programme.
It is also expected that Lobachevsky University students and postgraduates will be actively involved in research and operation of the plasmatron.