ELECTROCATALYTIC NITROGEN FIXATION FOR DISTRIBUTED FERTILIZER PRODUCTION?
BY MICHAEL JEWESS AND ROBERT H CRABTREE
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This work was published in ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2016, 4(11), 5855-5858.
Production of aqueous ammonium nitrate solution on farms ready for use could involve solar arrays and a suitable electrocatalytic process, feasible half cell and overall reactions being:
reaction at the cathode: N2 + 6 e– + 6 H+ → 2 NH3
reaction at the anode: 1.5 NH3 + 2.25 H2O → 0.75 NH44NO3 + 6 e– + 6 H+
overall reaction: N2 + 2.25 H2O → 0.75 NH4NO3 + 0.5 NH3
Although the possibility of producing ammonium nitrate by electrolyis goes back to Sir Humphry Davy, modern catalysts might allow useful yields.
Keywords: nitrogen fixation, Humphry Davy, Haber process, Ostwald process.
Further context and developments
Further context and developments are provided in Michael Jewess, “Davy hits the headlines (again)”, Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group newsletter and summary of papers, Summer 2017, 72, (in press), link to full text as pdf: FULL TEXT2 (which corrects the words “cathode”, “anode” as in the abstract above).