Plasma Chemistry

This research direction is focused on experimental investigations of non-thermal plasma generated in pulsed electrical discharges for environmental protection and applications in agriculture. 

Main topics of interest:

Plasma treatment of contaminated water 

We use pulsed corona and dielectric barrier discharges, either alone or in combination with other advanced oxidation processes, to remove organic pollutants in water. Lately, our work is focused on pharmaceutical compounds and pesticides, while earlier experiments have dealt with decolorization of dyes. We also investigate the generation of oxidizing species in plasma and correlate their formation with the pollutants’ degradation. We have found that recycling of the effluent gas from the plasma substantially improves the contaminants removal due to enhanced mass transfer of the plasma species to the liquid, as well as due to the peroxone process. The duration of the discharge pulses is another key parameter that can be tuned to increase process efficiency. We are performing tests on plant seeds to assess the toxicity of plasma-treated water and the plant up-take of the target compound and its degradation products.

Plasma treatment of seeds 

Plasma treatment of seeds is aimed at increased germination and plant growth, the final target being enhanced plant productivity. We have tested various seeds: wheat, barley, oat, tomato, radish, lentils etc. The seeds are treated either by direct exposure to plasma, in packed-bed or fluidised bed reactors, or by indirect treatment with plasma activated water. The effect of various experimental parameters is investigated and we try to correlate the results with the plasma-generated species in order to better understand the main mechanisms involved in the interaction of plasma with seed/plant cells. High flexibility of the plasma sources and parameters allow us to adapt and optimize the conditions for a wide diversity of seeds