SYNAPSE– Synthesis of chemical energy sources and product raw materials by conversion of carbon dioxide in atmospheric electron beam plasmas

Problem definition

The project addresses two major challenges of our time. The first is the seasonal storage of surplus electrical energy from photovoltaic and wind power plants for times of insufficient supply of these fluctuating energy sources, which is essential for the success of the energy transition. The only realistic way imaginable today to store such large amounts of energy is to convert the electrical energy into chemical energy.

Secondly, the general move away from the extraction  and use of fossil carbon sources not only as an energy source but also as a raw material for the chemical industry, which is necessary for sustainable climate protection - in other words, the establishment of a carbon cycle economy. In this vision, carbon dioxide is to be understood as a raw material, with the energy for the chemical reactions to convert it into liquid fuel, for example, coming from renewable sources. These tasks can only be solved economically if high conversion rates and high energy efficiency are achieved simultaneously in the synthesis process.

Aims of the project


The aim of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of the conversion of carbon dioxide in atmospheric electron beam plasmas and its advantages over conventional approaches (like thermal and catalyst-based approaches) for the production of chemical energy storage and product raw materials, thus laying the foundations for a novel, sustainable, efficient and scalable synthesis process.

The potential of atmospheric electron beam plasmas will be investigated and quantified using the conversion of carbon dioxide with hydrogen, methane and water, declared as reference reaction paths, producing synthesis gas or methanol in the simplest case. The most important technological tool will be a novel toroidal, low-energy electron source with a cylindrical beam exit window.


Funded by:
Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr
Funding reference: 100393081
01.01.2020 - 31.12.2021