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University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) is going to perform research into the use of plasma reactors in the production of artificial fertiliser. These could turn air into nitrous oxides for fertiliser in a very energy-efficient way. The European Research Council (ERC) of the European Commission has awarded a €150,000 'proof of concept' grant for this purpose.
Editorial office / Antwerp

Using a plasma reactor would require only one-fifth of the energy needed by current, conventional fertiliser production processes. “This project stems from my current ERC grant, where we achieved record values in plasma-based nitric oxide production versus the energy costs involved. Now it is time to put our findings into practice by optimising the reactor design and its performance, testing it in practice, but also recommending which reactor is suitable for up-scaling and possible commercialisation,” says Bogaerts. In total, three different reactors will be built and tested.

At UAntwerp, research is not only being done into how plasma reactors can be used for fertiliser production, but also, for instance, for the synthesis of green hydrogen. It is in fact one of the subjects that is currently being researched in the Netherlands in the new plasma lab opened at the end of last year at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus.

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