Novel Electrocatalyst to Facilitate Electrochemical Ammonia Production

Princeton University Background
Ammonia (NH3) is a fundamental component of the global economy. Although dinitrogen (N2) constitutes about 80% of the Earth’s atmosphere, the conversion of N2 to NH3 remains a grand challenge due to its very strong N≡N triple bond. Industrial artificial ammonia synthesis from N2 is currently conducted via the so-called Haber-Bosch process. The process operates under energy intensive conditions of high temperature and pressure. Therefore, searching for an environmentally friendly method for ammonia production that could proceed under ambient conditions is highly desirable. Emerging alternative processes include electrochemical reduction of N2.
Technology Overview
Researchers at Princeton University have developed a new electrocatalyst that may be incorporated into the cathode of electrolyzers to facilitate rapid and energy efficient electrochemical ammonia production.
Stage of Development
The activity of the new cathode catalyst for nitrogen reduction is so far demonstrated by using quantum mechanical simulations.
Further Details

Improves electrocatalytic performance (low overpotential and high selectivity) of the nitrogen reduction reaction
Cost effective

Can be incorporated as cathode into electrolytic devices designed for nitrogen reduction
Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.

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