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Frontiers in Energy >> 2024, Volume 18, Issue 2 doi: 10.1007/s11708-023-0908-2

Recent advances and challenges of nitrogen/nitrate electro catalytic reduction to ammonia synthesis

Received: 2023-08-16 Accepted: 2023-11-16 Available online: 2023-11-16

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The Haber-Bosch process is the most widely used synthetic ammonia technology at present. Since its invention, it has provided an important guarantee for global food security. However, the traditional Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis process consumes a lot of energy and causes serious environmental pollution. Under the serious pressure of energy and environment, a green, clean, and sustainable ammonia synthesis route is urgently needed. Electrochemical synthesis of ammonia is a green and mild new method for preparing ammonia, which can directly convert nitrogen or nitrate into ammonia using electricity driven by solar, wind, or water energy, without greenhouse gas and toxic gas emissions. Herein, the basic mechanism of the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) to ammonia and nitrate reduction reaction (NO3 RR) to ammonia were discussed. The representative approaches and major technologies, such as lithium mediated electrolysis and solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) electrolysis for NRR, high activity catalyst and advanced electrochemical device fabrication for NO3 RR and electrochemical ammonia synthesis were summarized. Based on the above discussion and analysis, the main challenges and development directions for electrochemical ammonia synthesis were further proposed.

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