Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Physics




Jose Lopez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shurik Yatom, Ph.D.

Committee Member

M. Alper Sahiner, Ph.D.


physcs, plasma, cold plasma


Hydrogenation of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol (CH3OH) is a promising route for utilization of excess and residual CO2. The conversion of CO to methanol is a well-developed process but the ability to use CO2 as a feed gas still requires high pressures (30-300 atm) to attain conversion. In this work, the hydrogenation of CO2 is explored using H2O as well as H2 in an atmospheric pressure nonthermal (cold) plasma created with a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) reactor. Different gas mixtures such as argon (Ar) and helium (He) are used to understand their interactions in the process of CO2 hydrogenation. Optical emission spectroscopy (OES) is done in this work to analyze under various voltage and frequency settings for comparison. This investigation shows that the conversion to methanol was not achieved. However, the addition of argon into the gas mixture resulted in increased dissociation of CO2 within the plasma, which is a key step in the hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol.