Synthesis of ammonia directly from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure

Rong Lan, John T. S. Irvine, Shanwen Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Citations (Scopus)
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The N≡N bond (225 kcal mol−1) in dinitrogen is one of the strongest bonds in chemistry therefore artificial synthesis of ammonia under mild conditions is a significant challenge. Based on current knowledge, only bacteria and some plants can synthesise ammonia from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure. Here, for the first time, we report artificial ammonia synthesis bypassing N2 separation and H2 production stages. A maximum ammonia production rate of 1.14 × 10−5 mol m−2 s−1 has been achieved when a voltage of 1.6 V was applied. Potentially this can provide an alternative route for the mass production of the basic chemical ammonia under mild conditions. Considering climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels used for synthesis of ammonia by conventional methods, this is a renewable and sustainable chemical synthesis process for future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1145
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date29 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • ammonia
  • air
  • water
  • temperature


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