Plasma assisted H2O2 synthesis: Looking at the interphase

  • chair:
  • place:

    PhD Thesis

  • institute:


  • starting date:

    As soon as possible

  • closing date:

    Up to 31.05.21

  • Kontaktperson:

    Navarrete Munoz, Alexander

Organizational Unit

Institute for Micro Process Engineering (IMVT)


Job description

Chemical industry needs a transformation that contributes to a sustainable society. We are contributing to this objective through several initiatives involving the use of renewable energy for the synthesis of chemical energy carriers (e.g. fuels or chemical commodity or specialty products such as methanol or ammonia) using stable and abundant molecules (such as H2O, CO2 or N2) as raw materials. Some of these initiatives include:

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a very active and selective clean oxidant which is already a major chemical product commercialized with more than 5 million tons of global production. Its main industrial applications are in the Pulp and Paper industry, in the chemical industry (e.g. Propylene Oxide synthesis), as well as in a variety of other applications such as water treatment. Its traditional method of synthesis is the Anthraquinone Process. However, this process requires significant energy and generates an important amount of waste with the consequent detriment in the environment and costs. Providing a more sustainable way of producing hydrogen peroxide at low cost in different scale compatible with low-capacity uses would therefore be a real cornerstone towards a wide implementation of green chemistry.

The main approaches taken in the literature so far include the direct synthesis from hydrogen and oxygen, e.g. from water electrolysis, over supported palladium-based catalysts (Dittmeyer et al., Catalysis Today 2015, 249, 149), the direct electrochemical synthesis from water and oxygen (Perry et al., Nature Reviews Chemistry 2019, 3, 442;, and the direct photochemical synthesis from water and oxygen (Song et al., Topics in Catalysis 2020, 63, 895). All these approaches would allow for decentralized production in regions disconnected of big, industrial clusters.

Plasmas are an alternative platform for a decentralized H2O2 production that do not require noble metals, have instant on/off times and can activate abundant molecules such as water. As such we want to find out how to control the plasmas to drive the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide in an efficient and reliable way.
Our broad objective in this work is to advance in the understanding of the interplay between mass transport and chemical reactions in the water/plasma interphases. In particularly, the intrinsic rate of formation of hydrogen peroxide directly from water and oxygen will be explored using nanosecond modulated microwave plasmas (technology developed at KIT). The effect of the precise energy dosage, plasma characteristics and dynamics of the plasma activation of the water molecule (selective bond breakage) will be studied to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms behind the plasma assisted H2O2 synthesis. Based on this, novel reactor concepts for the selective synthesis of hydrogen peroxide will be proposed and tested.


Personal qualification

  • Diploma or Master in physics, chemical engineering, chemistry or a related relevant discipline.
  • Demonstrated competences in one or more of the following: spectroscopy, numerical modelling, physical chemistry or reaction engineering.
  • Proficiency in verbal and written English.
  • Curiosity driven, take initiative, independent, aiming to leave your mark!


Starting Date

As soon as possible


Contract duration

3 years


Application up to



Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Alexander Navarrete Munoz, phone +49 (0)721 608-26653

The PhD work will be carried out at KIT Campus North and will be supervised by Prof. Roland Dittmeyer. The position (75% E13) is planned for three years.