Solid-State Pulsed Power Generator for CO2 Conversion Using Non-Thermal Plasma Technology

Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour (UPPA)

14 Nov 2023
Job Information

Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA)
Research Field
Engineering » Electrical engineering
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Application Deadline
22 Dec 2023 – 00:00 (Europe/Paris)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Offer Starting Date
1 Feb 2024
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

General presentation

The project contributes to global efforts on climate change mitigation. Being aligned with the European Green Deal roadmap, the project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2 ) and methane (CH4 ). Non-thermal plasma (NTP) technology is a promising technique for CO2 conversion and utilization. The greenhouse gases can be converted into valuable sub-products and synthetic fuels using NTP because plasma has the potential to enable thermodynamically unfavorable chemical reactions to take place under ambient conditions. Various routes have been investigated for CO2 conversion using NTP: dry reforming of methane (DRM), which is the combined conversion of CH4 and CO2 (R1), CO2 hydrogenation using hydrogen or water (R2 and R3), and CO2 decomposition to CO and O2 (R4).

CO2 + CH4 2CO + 2H2 ,   ∆H0 , 298 K = 247 kJ/mol                            (R1)

CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + 2H2 O,    ∆H0 , 298 K = -165 kJ/mol                          (R2)

CO2 + H2 → CO + H2 O,        ∆H0 , 298 K = 283 kJ/mol                            (R3)

2CO2 → 2CO + O2 ,             ∆H0 , 298 K = 41.2 kJ/mol                           (R4)

Among various reactions, DRM (R1) is desirable since it allows simultaneously reforming two greenhouse gases, producing syngas suitable for synthetic fuel production. Being a very endothermic reaction, DRM is impractical at an industrial scale using conventional energy sources. However, the high energy request makes DRM efficient in storing renewable electricity. Plasma discharges are especially suitable for energy storage: directly powered by renewable electricity, NTP reactors can use excess energy to produce value-added products from CO2 that would otherwise be flowed into the atmosphere. This would realize the power-to-fuel concept, which is based on electricity use to promote endothermic reactions, thus converting electricity into chemical energy.

The most common NTP reactors are dielectric barrier discharges (DBDs), microwave (MW) plasmas, and gliding arc (GA) discharges. However, another plasma reactor – nanosecond repetitive pulse (NRP) discharge – is also being investigated, and seems quite promising. In literature, NRP discharges exhibit conversions up to 45%, with energy conversion efficiencies up to 60% for dry reforming, and CO2 conversions of 10-20% with energy efficiencies of 12-30% for pure CO2 splitting. It is suggested that NRP discharge shows a high degree of non-equilibrium, explaining these high conversions and energy efficiencies.

The project is focused on the development and testing of the pulsed power generator with output parameters suitable for the NTP conversion of CO2 . The proposed generator is based on a new approach of using transient voltage suppressor diodes (TVS) as a nanosecond high-voltage switch, namely a semiconductor opening switch (SOS), which was recently demonstrated. Employing the solid-state primary switch together with a new pumping circuit makes this generator an all-solid-state device based on off-the-shelf components, which would lead to industrial benefits such as high average power, low production cost, and no maintenance required.

The project brings together experts in pulsed power with many years of experience in solid-state nanosecond high-voltage generators with experts in green chemistry working on environmental applications. We believe that such symbiosis will lead to synergetic research, mutually reinforcing the competencies of all parties involved.

Research required

Power supplies required for NTP generation by NRP discharge are usually based on either low-voltage components or resonant circuits. Due to their low average power and complex design, these solutions are highly unlikely can be employed in industrial applications. Moreover, certain parameters such as fast rise times of ~10 ns and high voltage amplitudes of ~100 kV combined with high pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of ~100 kHz are barely achievable in principle with conventional pulse generators.

A pulsed power generator prototype will be developed as a result of this project. Output parameters defined based on the NTP literature review are as follows: voltage amplitude – more than 15 kV, pulse duration – about 10 ns, pulse energy – more than 10 mJ, PRF – more than 1 kHz in continuous mode. Preliminary tests of CO2 conversion will be carried out, using this pulse generator. The project evaluation criteria can be considered as the achievement of the above-mentioned pulse characteristics, the energy efficiency of the generator, and the CO2 conversion efficiency.


Research Field
Engineering » Electrical engineering
Education Level
PhD or equivalent


–       Experience in electrical engineering is required.

–       Experience in the domain of pulsed power or high-voltage technology would be highly appreciated.

–       Experience with electric circuit solvers and/or electromagnetic software.

–       Fundamental knowledge of electromagnetism and semiconductor physics.

–       The candidate must be capable of performing research without day-by-day guidance and collaborate with foreign researchers (B2-C1 English level is preferable).

–       The candidate must be capable of producing reports and manuscripts to be sent for publication in internationally renowned journals. The candidate should also be able to present oral contributions at conferences and present the results in front of the general audience.



Research Field
Engineering » Electrical engineering
Years of Research Experience
1 – 4

Additional Information

A brut annual salary of 31 000 €, which corresponds to about 2 000 € net monthly salary.

Eligibility criteria

Ph.D. Title or an equivalent foreign Diploma in the domain of electrical engineering (e.g., high-voltage, pulsed power, or electromagnetism). A research engineer profile could also be accepted for this position (for example, MSc degree with experience in pulsed power).

Selection process

The shortlist of candidates will be prepared based on their CVs by the end of December 2023. The final selection will be made based on the interview in January 2024.

Additional comments

The High Voltage Processes Group at SIAME Laboratory is a leader in the field of pulsed power and collaborates with the world’s top research centers and private companies in the field.  The SIAME laboratory is located in the south of France in the charming town of Pau. It combines a rich cultural history with a modern lifestyle. Just one hour away from the Atlantic Ocean and the magnificent Pyrenees Mountains, Pau is a highly attractive place to stay and develop a career.

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour (UPPA)
Postal Code
Av. de l’Université

Where to apply

[email protected]


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