4 years ago

Ammonia Synthesis on Wool-Like Au, Pt, Pd, Ag, or Cu Electrode Catalysts in Nonthermal Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma of N2 and H2

Ammonia Synthesis on Wool-Like Au, Pt, Pd, Ag, or Cu Electrode Catalysts in Nonthermal Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma of N2 and H2
Takashi Deguchi, Masakazu Iwamoto, Keigo Aihara, Mao Akiyama
Developing an ammonia synthesis process from N2 and H2 is of interest in the catalysis and hydrogen research community. Wool-like metal electrodes used to produce nonthermal plasma were determined to serve as efficient catalysts for ammonia synthesis under atmospheric pressure without heating. The catalytic activity of Pt, Pd, Ag, Cu, and Ni wools increased as the experiment was repeated, while that of Au, Fe, Mo, Ti, W, and Al was almost constant. The activity change was mainly due to migration of metals from the electrode to the inner wall of a silica reactor or increases in surface areas of metal catalysts. The order of the activity at each initial experiment was Au > Pt > Pd > Ag > Cu > Fe > Mo > Ni > W > Ti > Al. DFT calculations using Gaussian 09 and CASTEP were applied for energy changes in a reaction M3 + 1/2 N2 → M3N and in adsorption of a nitrogen atom on metal surface, in which M3 was a virtual minimum unit of the metal surface. The reactions were assumed to be an essential step in the ammonia production after plasma-activation of N2. The resulting values correlated with the respective initial catalytic activity, indicating that a more unstable M3N surface intermediate produced higher catalytic activity. Emission spectra in the plasma process using various electrodes were measured and showed that the efficiency of electrodes for plasma activation of nitrogen molecules was almost independent of the metals, while the reactivity of the activated species to form ammonia depended greatly on the metal used. The N2/H2 ratio dependence and formation/decomposition rate constants of ammonia were finally determined on Au and Cu, which were different from those for the conventional Haber–Bosch process. The decomposition of produced ammonia was suggested to proceed in a plasma-irradiated gas phase.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.7b01624

DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b01624

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