Electrochemical synthesis of ammonia directly from air and water using a Li+/H+/NH4+ mixed conducting electrolyte

Rong Lan, Shanwen Tao

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Ammonia has been successfully synthesised directly from air and water using an electrochemical cell based on an H+/Li+/NH 4 + mixed conducting membrane and Pt/C electrodes. It is found that the Nafion 211 membrane exhibits mixed H+/Li+ conduction after exchanging in 0.1 M Li2SO4 solution. The ionic conductivity of the mixed conductor is slightly lower than that of H +-form Nafion 211. The introduction of Li+ ions to the cell did not improve the ammonia formation rates in our experiments. Reasonably higher temperature may favour ammonia formation and the highest ammonia formation rate (9.37 × 10-6 mol m-2 s-1) and Faraday efficiency (0.83%) was obtained at 80 °C when a voltage of 1.2 V was applied. The ammonia formation rate decreased when 0.1 M Li 2SO4 solution instead of water was used in the cell. Under the applied potential, the presence of Li+ ions might have a blocking effect on the transfer of protons resulting in a lower current at higher applied voltage, particularly at lower temperatures. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18016-18021
Number of pages6
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2013


  • ammonia
  • electrochemical synthesis

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