Electrocatalytic synthesis of ammonia by surface proton hopping

R. Manabe, H. Nakatsubo, A. Gondo, Kota Murakami, S. Ogo, H. Tsuneki, M. Ikeda, A. Ishikawa, H. Nakai, Y. Sekine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Highly efficient ammonia synthesis at a low temperature is desirable for future energy and material sources. We accomplished efficient electrocatalytic low-temperature ammonia synthesis with the highest yield ever reported. The maximum ammonia synthesis rate was 30099 μmol gcat-1 h-1 over a 9.9 wt% Cs/5.0 wt% Ru/SrZrO3 catalyst, which is a very high rate. Proton hopping on the surface of the heterogeneous catalyst played an important role in the reaction, revealed by in situ IR measurements. Hopping protons activate N2 even at low temperatures, and they moderate the harsh reaction condition requirements. Application of an electric field to the catalyst resulted in a drastic decrease in the apparent activation energy from 121 kJ mol-1 to 37 kJ mol-1. N2 dissociative adsorption is markedly promoted by the application of the electric field, as evidenced by DFT calculations. The process described herein opens the door for small-scale, on-demand ammonia synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5434-5439
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrocatalytic synthesis of ammonia by surface proton hopping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this