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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1145. doi: 10.1038/srep01145. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Synthesis of ammonia directly from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure.

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Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XJ, UK.


The N≡N bond (225 kcal mol⁻¹) in dinitrogen is one of the strongest bonds in chemistry therefore artificial synthesis of ammonia under mild conditions is a significant challenge. Based on current knowledge, only bacteria and some plants can synthesise ammonia from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure. Here, for the first time, we report artificial ammonia synthesis bypassing N₂ separation and H₂ production stages. A maximum ammonia production rate of 1.14 × 10⁻⁵ mol m⁻² s⁻¹ has been achieved when a voltage of 1.6 V was applied. Potentially this can provide an alternative route for the mass production of the basic chemical ammonia under mild conditions. Considering climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels used for synthesis of ammonia by conventional methods, this is a renewable and sustainable chemical synthesis process for future.

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