Non-catalyzed one-step synthesis of ammonia from atmospheric air and water
It is well known that ammonia is produced through a catalytic reaction at high temperature and pressure from pure nitrogen and hydrogen. This catalytic chemical process is a massive and high-energy-consuming process, but a very important one for nitrogen fixation. Here, we show a non-catalyzed one-step synthesis of ammonia from atmospheric air (nitrogen source) and water (hydrogen source), based on an interfacial reaction between the air plasma gas phase and the water phase, at 25 °C and atmospheric pressure. In the plasma/liquid interfacial reaction (P/L reaction), atomic nitrogen in both air plasma and nitrogen plasma first abstracts hydrogen from the water phase surface at the P/L interface, and then NH is produced without any catalyst. Transiently formed NH is reduced further at the water phase, affording NH3, which then dissolves in the water phase. The P/L reaction may provide an alternative solution that enables both energy conservation and CO2 emission reduction.