Plasma Activated Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis from Nitrogen and Water

Rakesh K. Sharma (Corresponding author), Hrishikesh Patel, Usman Mushtaq, Vasileios Kyriakou, Georgios Zafeiropoulos, Floran Peeters, Stefan Welzel, Mauritius C.M. van de Sanden, Mihalis N. Tsampas (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Ammonia is an important precursor of fertilizers, as well as a potential carbon-free energy carrier. Nowadays, ammonia is synthesized via the Haber-Bosch process, which is a capital- and energy-intensive process with an immense CO2 footprint. Thus, alternative processes for the sustainable and decentralized ammonia production from N2 and H2O using renewable electricity are required. The key challenges for the realization of such processes are the efficient activation of the N2 bond and selectivity toward NH3. In this contribution, we report an all-electric method for sustainable ammonia production from nitrogen and water using a plasma-activated proton conducting solid oxide electrolyzer. Hydrogen species produced by water oxidation over the anode are transported through the proton conducting membrane to the cathode where they react with the plasma-activated nitrogen toward ammonia. Ammonia production rates and Faradaic efficiencies up to of 26.8 nmol of NH3 s-1 cm-2 and 88%, respectively, were achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalACS Energy Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021

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