New eco-friendly method for pro­duc­ing am­mo­nia

Chemical Industry Digest - - New Developments -

Re­searchers from The Univer­sity of Notre Dame are fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing a new method that syn­the­sizes am­mo­nia us­ing re­new­able en­ergy. The newly de­vel­oped method aims to be more eco-friendly and ac­ces­si­ble.

The cur­rent process used to cre­ate am­mo­nia is the Haber-Bosch process, which was de­vel­oped in the early 90s. The Har­ber-Bosch re­lies on non-re­new­able sources and fos­sil fu­els to oper­ate and can only be used in large, cen­tral­ized chem­i­cal plants, mak­ing it harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Their new process uses plasma and non-no­ble metal cat­a­lysts to cre­ate milder con­di­tions than the Haber-Bosch method. Plasma’s en­ergy ex­cites ni­tro­gen mol­e­cules, which then re­acts more read­ily on the cat­a­lysts. The en­ergy for the re­ac­tion comes from the plasma, not high heat and in­tense pres­sure, so the cre­ation of am­mo­nia with this method can hap­pen on the small-scale, which has not hap­pened be­fore. The new process can be used with re­new­able en­ergy sources and dis­trib­uted am­mo­nia pro­duc­tion, as pub­lished in Na­ture Catal­y­sis

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