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(617ex) Electrochemical Control of the Nitrogen Cycle: Ammonia Synthesis from Nitrates

Authors: 
McEnaney, J., Stanford University
Kibsgaard, J., Stanford University
Jaramillo, T. F., Stanford University
The electrochemical conversion of nitrates or nitrogen to ammonia and other useful products, offers an appealing alternative approach to synthesis via the energy intensive Haber-Bosch process. Nitrates are considered a waste material and pollutant from fertilizer run-off which may be able to be converted into various useful products such as ammonia, hydrazine, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, or other useful nitrogenous materials. Our work involves developing electrocatalytic control and establishing trends which are important to the fundamental understanding of nitrogen based electrochemistry. Preliminary results show the development of screened catalysts at various applied potentials, leading to significant differences in current efficiency toward specific products. We aim to combine our work with theoretical models to continue to improve the activity, selectivity, and understanding of these electrochemical processes.