Plasma for Plants technology project granted

Recently researchers from CWI and TU/e were awarded an OTP technology grant to understand the effect of plasma on plants.

Publication date: 18-02-2019

Today’s agriculture crucially depends on fertilizers and pesticides that have a major environmental impact – from production and transport until long after application. But what if we could feed and protect plants with just water, air and sustainable electric energy, generated by local solar panels or wind turbines? With this electric energy, a discharge plasma can be generated in air that triggers a chain of chemical reactions. The generated species can be absorbed in water, and they can act both as fertilizers and pesticides during irrigation. This was already demonstrated. But how to create the best chemical cocktail for, for instance, radishes or tulips? Recently researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and from CWI were awarded an OTP technology grant from NWO to understand and optimize this process.

In their project 'Plasma for plants' the researchers unite the strengths of three complementary disciplines: electrical engineering and applied physics at TU/e and the modelling expertise on transient plasmas of the Multiscale Dynamics (MD) group at CWI. The MD group at CWI is headed by Professor Ute Ebert (CWI and TU/e), and Jannis Teunissen recently joined the group on a tenure track position.

Jannis Teunissen explains: "So-called plasma activated water has already shown great potential in a number of applications. However, we do not yet understand how the plasma source affects the chemical composition of the water, and how we can energy-efficiently obtain certain species. We think we can answer these questions in this project because we combine the expertise on plasma sources and diagnostics at the TU/e with the plasma modelling expertise at CWI."

The Open Technology Programme of NWO, which funds this project, focuses on scientific and technical research and is characterised by an absence of disciplinary borders. The programme is coordinated by the NWO domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW).

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