Ceria-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite as an efficient electrocatalyst toward artificial N2 conversion to NH3 under ambient conditions
For over a century, NH3 synthesis via the Haber-Bosch process brings huge energy cost and high CO2 emission. Electrochemical N2 reduction reaction is an environmentally-benign alternative, which can be driven by renewable energy. In this work, CeO2 nanoparticles-reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite (CeO2-rGO) behaves as an efficient non-noble-metal N2 reduction reaction electrocatalyst with excellent selectivity. In 0.1 M Na2SO4, CeO2-rGO achieves a high Faradaic efficiency of 4.78% and a large NH3 yield of 16.98 µg h−1 mg−1cat. at –0.7 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode. The catalytic mechanism was explored by density functional theory calculations.