Nanoporous vanadium nitride efficient electrocatalytic nitric oxide reduction synthesis of ammonia

On July 4, 2022, Nano Research Energy, a high-starting energy journal hosted by Tsinghua University Young Editorial Board, Professor Liu Xijun of Guangxi University, published a title“High-efficiency electrocatalytic NO reduction to NH3 by nanoporous VN”Research papers.

Figure 1: (a) Schematic diagram of the synthesis process of np-VN/CF; (b) Calculation of FE and NH3 yields for np-VN/CF; (c) Zn–NO battery discharge polarization curve and power density curve; (d) Free energy diagram of HER and NORR pathways on VN(200).

Ammonia is an important raw material for the fertilizer industry and has attracted much attention as a potential energy storage medium. At present, the production of ammonia is mainly through the Haber-Bosch process to catalyze the synthesis of hydrogen and nitrogen under high temperature and pressure. However, the reaction kinetics are slow, so the reaction conditions of the Haber-Bosch process are harsh (350~550°C, 150~350atm) and require a lot of energy consumption. At the same time, the input of hydrogen (from hydrocarbon decomposition or water-gas conversion reactions) and energy (from fossil fuels) inevitably leads to the emission of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Therefore, researchers are actively exploring alternative ways to synthesize ammonia. Recently, electrocatalytic nitrogen reduction synthesis of ammonia has received great attention. To date, precious metal-based materials, carbon-based materials, and single-atom catalysts have been reported as electrocatalysts for the synthesis of ammonia in nitrogen reduction reactions (NRR), however, the high dissociation of N≡ N bonds has made the yield of electrical synthesis of ammonia much lower than that of the Haber-Bosch process. Therefore, further design and development of efficient electrocatalytic ammonia synthesis systems is necessary for its industrial applications.

Based on this, Professor Liu Xijun’s team at Guangxi University built on previous research on NRR (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 2321( );Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 345( );ACS Catal. 2021, 11, 509( );ACS Nano 2020, 14, 6938( ), further research was carried out on electrochemical nitric oxide reduction reaction (NORR). The team reported a nanoporous VN film (np-VN/CF) loaded on a carbon fiber cloth for electrocatalytic NORR ammonia production. The results showed that the ammonia faraphradie efficiency of np-VN/CF in the potential range of –0.4 to –0.8 V (relative to the reversible hydrogen electrode) was 68%–85%, and the maximum ammonia yield was 1.05×10–7mol·cm–2·s–1, which exceeded most of the reported literature results. In addition, Zn–NO batteries assembled with this catalyst as cathodes have a maximum power density of up to 2.0 mW·cm–2, and the corresponding ammonia yield is 1077.1 μg·h–1·mgcat.–1. This work demonstrates the potential application of nanoporous vanadium-based materials in the electrosynthesis of ammonia.

Related paper information:

Qi, D. F.; Lv, F.; Wei, T. R.; Jin, M. M.; Meng, G.; Zhang, S. S.; Liu, Q.; Liu, W. X.; Ma, D.; Hamdy, M. S.; Luo, J.; Liu, X. J. High-efficiency electrocatalytic NO reduction to NH3 by nanoporous VN. Nano Res. Energy 2022, 1: e9120022. DOI: 10.26599/NRE.2022.9120022.

As a sister journal of Nano Research, Nano Research Energy (ISSN: 2791-0091; e-ISSN: 2790-8119; Official website: was launched in March 2022 and is co-edited by Professor Qu Liangti of Tsinghua University and Professor Chunyi Zhi of the City University of Hong Kong. Nano Research Energy is an international multidisciplinary, all-English open access journal, focusing on the cutting-edge research and application of nanomaterials and nanoscience technology in new energy-related fields, benchmarking against the top international energy journals, and committed to publishing high-level original research and review papers. Before 2023, the APC fee will be waived, and all teachers are welcome to submit articles. Please contact:

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