Bryony Ashford

June 1st, 2021

Area of research:

Plasma catalytic production of ammonia

Research project details:

I design and carry out experiments using non-thermal plasma combined with a catalyst to produce ammonia from H2 and N2. This has applications in the hydrogen economy, as hydrogen can be more easily and safely stored and transported in the form of ammonia than as pure hydrogen.

I design and synthesise various catalysts, working with hazardous materials as well as air-sensitive materials that require the use of a glovebox. I also design the plasma reactors and am looking into combining plasma with other technologies.

Currently, energy efficiencies are too low to make the process viable. The project focusses on increasing the viability of the process by increasing the energy efficiency and ammonia yield. This process is relatively new, with many unknowns. As such, focus is put on understanding the interactions between the catalyst and the plasma, which can then lead to successful optimisation.


Manufacturing, Lindfield NSW

My expectations from a mentoring partnership:

  • I’m looking for guidance on career progression (I have less than a year left of my Postdoc.) and am especially interested in learning about sideways movement towards a different but similar research area, as thus far I have only worked in plasma catalysis.
  • Looking to meet once a month, but happy with more frequent or fewer meetings depending on the mentor’s schedule.
  • I can meet either in person or via Zoom/Webex
  • Preferably, I would like a mentor who has experience in plasma catalysis. However, having experience in similar environmental areas – renewable energy production and carbon dioxide utilisation – that use non-plasma processes (e.g. Thermal, fuel cells) would also be a good fit. I would like someone with a passion for environmental processes, as I ideally want to progress my career in this area. I’m also interested in environmental policy and may need support with writing grant proposals. Ideally, I would like my mentor to be female or genderqueer and supportive of LGBTQI+ people.

My general interests:

I’m from the UK and have lived in Sydney for the past two years. I’m passionate about the environment and enjoy hiking in the national parks, yoga and reading novels.