Plasma technology – a novel solution for CO2 conversion?
CO2 conversion into value-added chemicals and fuels is considered as one of the great challenges of the 21st century. Due to the limitations of the traditional thermal approaches, several novel technologies are being developed. One promising approach in this field, which has received little attention to date, is plasma technology. Its advantages include mild operating conditions, easy upscaling, and gas activation by energetic electrons instead of heat. This allows thermodynamically difficult reactions, such as CO2 splitting and the dry reformation of methane, to occur with reasonable energy cost. In this review, after exploring the traditional thermal approaches, we have provided a brief overview of the fierce competition between various novel approaches in a quest to find the most effective and efficient CO2 conversion technology. This is needed to critically assess whether plasma technology can be successful in an already crowded arena. The following questions need to be answered in this regard: are there key advantages to using plasma technology over other novel approaches, and if so, what is the flip side to the use of this technology? Can plasma technology be successful on its own, or can synergies be achieved by combining it with other technologies? To answer these specific questions and to evaluate the potentials and limitations of plasma technology in general, this review presents the current state-of-the-art and a critical assessment of plasma-based CO2 conversion, as well as the future challenges for its practical implementation.