Progress in the Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia

V. Kyriakou, I. Garagounis, E. Vasileiou, A. Vourros, M. Stoukides*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

297 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ammonia is one of the most important and widely produced chemicals worldwide with a key role in the growth of human population. Nowadays, the main route for ammonia synthesis is the Haber-Bosch process, developed a century ago. In this process, Fe-based catalysts are usually employed at temperatures between 400 and 500 degrees C and pressures between 130 and 170 bar. As opposed to the industrial process, in nature, plants and bacteria have been producing ammonia for millions of years at mild conditions. Atmospheric nitrogen is reduced by solvated protons on the FeMo cofactor of the metalloenzyme nitrogenase. The natural method of nitrogen fixation has motivated several research groups to explore the electrochemical synthesis of ammonia at ambient pressure. Since it was first demonstrated in 1998, the electrochemical synthesis has been studied in a variety of experimental configurations over a wide temperature range (25800 degrees C). In the present review, the progress of this method in both solid and liquid electrolyte cells is reported. The experimental studies are divided into high (T > 500 degrees C), intermediate (500 degrees C > T > 100 degrees C) and low (T <100 degrees C) temperatures. The experimental observations are comparatively discussed with theoretical predictions based on DFT calculations. The techno-economic advantages and disadvantages of the electrochemical approach, as well as the requirements to be met in order to enable practical applications are also analyzed. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-13
Number of pages12
JournalCatalysis Today
Volume286
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15-May-2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis
  • Solid Electrolytes
  • Liquid Electrolytes
  • Ionic Conductors
  • ATMOSPHERIC-PRESSURE
  • PROTON CONDUCTION
  • INTERMEDIATE-TEMPERATURE
  • WET AIR
  • ELECTROCATALYTIC SYNTHESIS
  • COMPOSITE ELECTROLYTE
  • HYDROXIDE SUSPENSIONS
  • MICROEMULSION METHOD
  • STEAM ELECTROLYSIS
  • NAFION MEMBRANE

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