Facile synthesis of a Ru-dispersed N-doped carbon framework catalyst for electrochemical nitrogen reduction†
Ammonia is one of the most important agricultural fertilizers and renewable energy carriers, and is also one of the most highly produced inorganic compounds in the world. The traditional industrial ammonia synthesis mainly uses the Haber–Bosch method, which consumes a large amount of fossil fuels and emits a lot of greenhouse gas. Thus, a more environmentally friendly method is needed for the production of ammonia. In this paper, we present a new electrocatalyst to produce NH3 under ambient conditions, which was obtained via the carbonization of Ru-dispersed ZIF-8. As a result, the catalyst could achieve a maximum NH3 production rate of about 16.68 μgNH3 h−1 mgcat.−1 at −0.4 V (vs. RHE) and a faradaic efficiency of 14.23% at −0.3 V (vs. RHE) at room temperature and ambient pressure in 0.1 M KOH. Also, the loading of Ru is only 16 wt%. Thus, this work provides a feasible method to design highly dispersed noble metal electrocatalysts for the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR).