Efficient ammonia synthesis at low temperatures is anticipated for establishing a hydrogen carrier system. We reported earlier that application of an electric field on the Cs/Ru/SrZrO3 catalyst enhanced catalytic ammonia synthesis activity. It is now clear that N2 dissociation is activated by hopping protons in the electric field. Efficient ammonia synthesis proceeds by an "associative mechanism" in which N2 dissociates via an N2H intermediate, even at low temperatures. The governing factor of ammonia synthesis activity in an electric field for active metals differed from that in the conventional mechanism. Also, N2H formation energy played an important role. The effects of dopants (Al, Y, Ba, and Ca) on this mechanism were investigated using activity tests and density functional theory calculations to gain insights into the support role in the electric field. Ba and Ca addition showed positive effects on N2H formation energy, leading to high ammonia synthesis activity. The coexistence of proton-donating and electron-donating abilities is necessary for efficient N2H formation at the Ru-support interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas