Air pollution treated efficiently by combining non-thermal plasma with catalysis
This set of skills in environmental catalysis allows us to develop original processes that involve combining different technologies to devise a cheaper, more effective and more environmentally-friendly method of treating air pollution. In this context, we collaborate with various national and international research groups, such as the 'Research Unit Plasma Technology' (RUPT) at the University of Ghent. This research unit specialises in developing plasma reactors; we lend them our expertise in heterogeneous catalysis to help develop processes to couple non-thermal plasma with catalysis. This research is being conducted in an International Associated Laboratory on 'Plasma-Catalysis', which we recently created under the auspices of the European INTERREG V 'DepollutAir' project, which is currently funding our research.
Using adsorption functionality in plasma-catalytic transformation processes
Traditional plasma-catalytic processes to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are present in industrial waste gases, require a continuous energy supply. Our approach is to insert an earlier step in the plasma-catalytic transformation process involving the adsorption of the pollutant. This enables the plasma to work sequentially to remove the volatile organic compounds and means the adsorbent is regenerated, resulting in substantial energy savings. Our team is lending its expertise to the development of new adsorbent/catalyst materials and to the advanced characterisation of these materials.
Using flow meters and flow controllers in the catalytic treatment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
In our research, we need to generate mixtures of VOCs to simulate industrial waste gases. As these waste gases are different for each type of industry and we need to be as representative as possible of industrial realities, we have to be able to generate gas flows with highly variable VOC levels, containing VOCs of many different types, such as formaldehyde, toluene, chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene and butanol.