Light-Driven Chemical Looping for Ammonia Synthesis

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Synthetic ammonia has been the primary worldwide source of agricultural fertilizer over the last century and is a promising carbon-free energy carrier for sustainable transportation. Despite its global importance, synthetic ammonia produced with the Haber-Bosch process is extremely energy- and resource-intensive. Here we demonstrate a three-step chemical looping strategy to produce ammonia using only light, natural gas, nitrogen, and water. Titanium nitride nanoparticles were utilized as plasmonic antennas to assist the transformation of magnesium-based nanomaterials through oxide, metallic, and nitride phases under optical illumination. All reactions were performed and monitored in situ using frequency-modulated rotational spectroscopy, which allowed the experiments to take advantage of the rotational spectra's unique sensitivity to isotopic labeling to monitor and verify key reaction intermediates. This validation of a light-driven process for the synthesis of ammonia demonstrates an innovative route toward photosynthetic production of essential chemical commodities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Swearer, DF; Knowles, NR; Everitt, HO; Halas, NJ

Published Date

  • May 31, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1505 - 1512

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2380-8195

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/acsenergylett.9b00860

Citation Source

  • Scopus