Ultrasmall V8C7 nanoparticles embedded in conductive carbon for efficient electrocatalytic N2 reduction toward ambient NH3 production†
As a carbon-neutral alternative to the Haber–Bosch process, electrochemical N2 reduction offers an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to produce NH3, but it needs active electrocatalysts for the N2 reduction reaction (NRR). In this communication, we report that vanadium carbide nanoparticles/carbon sphere (V8C7/C) acts as a high-performance NRR electrocatalyst under ambient conditions. In 0.1 M HCl, such V8C7/C achieves a large NH3 yield of 34.62 μg h−1 mgcat.−1 and a high faradaic efficiency of 12.20% at −0.40 V vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode. Notably, V8C7/C also shows both strong electrochemical stability and high NH3 selectivity.