Site items in: Content by Author Bingjun Xu

Mechanistic Insights into Electrochemical Nitrogen Reduction Reaction on Vanadium Nitride Nanoparticles

Renewable production of ammonia, a building block for most fertilizers, via the electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (ENRR) is desirable; however, a selective electrocatalyst is lacking. Here we show that vanadium nitride (VN) nanoparticles are active, selective, and stable ENRR catalysts. ENRR with 15N2 as the feed produces both 14NH3 and 15NH3, which indicates that the reaction follows a Mars–van Krevelen mechanism. Ex situ and operando characterizations indicate that VN0.7O0.45 is the active phase for ENRR and the conversion of VN0.7O0.45 to the VN phase leads to catalyst deactivation. Quantitative isotopic labeling results identify the amounts of two different types of…

Electrochemical Nitrogen Reduction Reaction on Transition Metal Nitride Nanoparticles in Proton Exchange Membrane Electrolyzers

Transition metal nitride nanoparticles are synthesized and utilized as catalysts for electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (ENRR) to produce ammonia in a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer (PEMEL). The catalysts show an average ENRR rate and Faradaic efficiency (FE) of 3.3 × 10−10 mol s−1 cm−2 (6.6 × 10−10 mol s−1 mg−1) and 5.95% at −0.1 V within 1 h, respectively. Both the ENRR rate and FE are approximately two orders of magnitude higher than those of noble metal catalysts. Time-dependent results suggest that the catalytic activity of transition metal nitride nanoparticles is stable at −0.1 V, with the catalytic activity decreasing…

Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia Using Metal Nitride Catalsyts

With the development of the Haber process and the subsequent work done by Bosch, ammonia production become an industrially and economically viable way to fix nitrogen. This helped increase the global population and estimates put it at about 40% of the global population’s food comes from ammonia made by the Haber-Bosch process[1]. However, the Haber-Bosch process is an energy intensive process requiring high pressure (15-30 MPa) and relatively high temperature (430 °C – 480 °C) and is highly centralized with only about 13 companies and about 29 plants[2,3]. Renewable energy resources offer a possible alternative way to fix nitrogen at…