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Sci Adv. 2017 Apr 28;3(4):e1602747. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1602747. eCollection 2017 Apr.

Carbon-free H2 production from ammonia triggered at room temperature with an acidic RuO2/γ-Al2O3 catalyst.

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Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Oita University, 700 Dannoharu, Oita 870-1154, Japan.
Elements Strategy Initiative for Catalysts and Batteries, Kyoto University, 1-30 Goryo-Ohara, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 615-8245, Japan.


Ammonia has been suggested as a carbon-free hydrogen source, but a convenient method for producing hydrogen from ammonia with rapid initiation has not been developed. Ideally, this method would require no external energy input. We demonstrate hydrogen production by exposing ammonia and O2 at room temperature to an acidic RuO2/γ-Al2O3 catalyst. Because adsorption of ammonia onto the catalyst is exothermic, the catalyst bed is rapidly heated to the catalytic ammonia autoignition temperature, and subsequent oxidative decomposition of ammonia produces hydrogen. A differential calorimeter combined with a volumetric gas adsorption analyzer revealed a large quantity of heat evolved both with chemisorption of ammonia onto RuO2 and acidic sites on the γ-Al2O3 and with physisorption of multiple ammonia molecules.


Renewable Energy; adsorption heat; energy carrier; fuel cell; heterogeneous catalyst; hydrogen carrier; hydrogen engine; internal heat generation; oxidative decomposition of ammonia

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