New electrolyte found can help better ammonia synthesis

Source: The post is based on the article New electrolyte found can help better ammonia synthesispublished in PIB on 5th January 2023

What is the News?

A team of Indian scientists have developed a new aqueous electrolyte that can help make electrochemical ammonia synthesis more efficient.

The novel approach could be useful for industries involved in the production of green energy or hydrogen.

What has been the major obstacle in the production of ammonia through the electrochemical Ammonia synthesis process?

Ammonia production is dependent on the century-old Haber-Bosch process, which is energy and capital-intensive and relies on Hydrogen(H2) from steam reforming, hence, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. 

To replace this, the Electrochemical Ammonia synthesis process can be used for the production of ammonia. This process offers a promising carbon-neutral and sustainable strategy

However, this process is largely limited due to the poor solubility of nitrogen (N2) in the aqueous electrolyte environment as well as the competitive hydrogen evolution reaction.

In the past, most efforts to overcome these issues have focused on catalyst development, while little attention has been given to improving electrolytes.

What have the scientists developed to overcome this obstacle?

Scientists have introduced a new electrolyte called (NaBF4) which not only acts as an N2-carrier in the medium but also works as a full-fledged “co-catalyst” along with active material transition metal-doped nanocarbon (MnN4) to deliver a high yield of ammonia (NH3) at absolutely ambient experimental conditions.

This approach has resulted in an NH3 production rate that approaches an industrial scale and surpasses many standard catalysts in other electrolyte media.

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