The synthesis of ammonia by photoelectrochemical N2 reduction, unlike the century old high temperature high pressure Haber-Bosch ammonia process, is not very energy‐intensive and can operate at low or even ambient temperature and pressure. In a Chinese-Canadian collaboration, spearheaded Professor Jinlong Gong and Professor Geoffrey Ozin, the promotional role of surface O vacancies in outer layers of amorphous TiO2 thin films enable the adsorption and activation of N2 to facilitate N2 reduction to NH3 is described for the first time. The paper entitled “Promoted Fixation of Molecular Nitrogen with Surface Oxygen Vacancies on Plasmon‐Enhanced TiO2 Photoelectrodes”.
The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.
In this article, published in Chem, a sister journal to Cell, Geoffrey Ozin and Todd Siler, a long time practicing chemist and artist, ask whether machine learning will ever be creative enough to match the innate ingenuity of humans at discovering and synthesizing an entirely new class of materials.
The full article can be read here.
Congratulations Young Li on your paper in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b04982) in which a novel palladium-tungsten oxide hetero-nanostructure Pd@HyWO3-x is shown to function as a high performance photocatalyst for enabling the gas-phase reduction of CO2 to CO at an impressive rate of 3.0 mmol gcat-1 h-1. A photochemical pathway operates via bandgap excitation of HyWO3-x along with photothermal contributions arising from non-radiative electron relaxation in Pd nanocrystals and the plasmon band of HyWO3-x. Kinetic analysis revealed a decrease in the activation energy for CO formation in the dark compared to the light with kinetics being more CO2 dependent in the dark to more H2 dependent in the light. Operando diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy measurements provided valuable insight into the surface chemistry responsible for the conversion of CO2 to CO formation. The Pd@HyWO3-x system provides a blueprint for rationally designing and optimizing catalysts that enable gas-phase photothermal reduction of CO2.
The full article can be read on the ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces website.
The century-old Haber-Bosch process for the production of ammonia from N2 and H2 is an energy demanding and greenhouse gas intensive, high temperature and high pressure, fossil powered process. A contemporary challenge is to replace this unsustainable process by a sustainable one that produces ammonia from N2 and H2O, powered by solar electricity, solar heat or solar photons.
In this Perspective, we present an overview of current research activity and technology development in this area together with a high level energy analysis shown in the graphic of the different ways being explored to achieve the lofty goal of a ‘solar ammonia refinery’.
The full article can be read on the Joule website.