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submitted on 30.01.2020 and posted on 31.01.2020by Prateek Mehta, Patrick M. Barboun, Yannick Engelmann, David B. Go, Annemie Bogaerts, William
F. Schneider, Jason C. Hicks
We explore the consequences of non-thermal plasma activation on product yields in catalytic ammonia synthesis, a reaction that is equilibrium-limited at elevated temperatures. We employ a minimal microkinetic model that incorporates the influence of plasma activation on N2 dissociation rates to predict NH3 yields into and across the equilibrium-limited regime. NH3 yields are predicted to exceed bulk thermodynamic equilibrium limits on materials that are thermal-rate-limited by N2 dissociation. In all cases, yields revert to bulk equilibrium at temperatures at which thermal reaction rates exceed plasma-activated ones. Beyond-equilibrium NH3 yields are observed in a packed bed dielectric-barrier-discharge reactor and exhibit sensitivity to catalytic material choice in a way consistent with model predictions. The approach and results highlight the opportunity to exploit synergies between non-thermal plasmas and catalysts to affect transformations at conditions inaccessible through thermal routes.