Our society is in need of ammonia more than ever.
Chemical fertilizers, plastic, fibers, pharmaceuticals, refrigerants in heat pumps, and even explosives all use ammonia as raw material. Moreover, ammonia has been suggested as a hydrogen carrier recently because of its high hydrogen content.
In the Haber-Bosch process, which is the main method of ammonia synthesis, nitrogen reacts with hydrogen using a metal catalyst to produce ammonia. However, this industrial process is conducted at 200 atm and high reaction temperatures of nearly 500°C (approximately 932°F). Additionally, ammonia production requires using much natural gas, so scientists have been looking for alternative methods to sustainably synthesize ammonia at low temperature.
In a recent study, researchers from Waseda University and Nippon Shokubai Co. Ltd. achieved a highly efficient ammonia synthesis at low temperature, with the highest yield ever reported.
“By applying an electric field to the catalyst used in our experiment, we accomplished an efficient, small-scale process for ammonia synthesis under very mild conditions,” says Professor Yasushi Sekine of Waseda University. “Using this new method, we can collect highly pure ammonia as compressed liquid and open doors to developing on-demand ammonia production plants that run on renewable energy.”
This research was published in Chemical Science.
In 1972, ruthenium (Ru) catalyst with alkali metals was found to decrease the reaction temperatures and pressures necessary for Haber-Bosch processing, and different methods have been suggested since this discovery. Unfortunately, the ammonia synthesis rate was hindered by kinetic limitations.
“We applied direct current electric field to the Ru-Cs catalyst for our ammonia synthesis and obtained remarkably high ammonia field of approximately 30 mmol gcat-1h-1 with high production energy efficiency. Not to mention, this was done at low reaction temperatures and pressures from atmospheric to 9 atm, which is kinetically controllable. The energy consumption to produce ammonia was very low as well.”
The researchers were able to obtain such results by a mechanism called surface proton hopping, a unique surface conduction triggered by an electric field.
“Our experimental investigations, including electron microscope observation, infrared spectroscopy measurements, and isotopic exchange tests using nitrogen gas, prove that proton hopping plays an important role in the reaction, as it activates nitrogen gas even at low temperatures and moderates the harsh condition requirements,” explains Professor Sekine.
The new technique also addresses obstacles in conventional ammonia synthesis, such as hydrogen poisoning of Ru catalysts and delay in nitrogen dissociation. Furthermore, the research results suggest that smaller-scale, more dispersed ammonia production could be realized, and building highly-efficient ammonia plants that run on renewable energy will become possible. Such ammonia plants will be expected to produce 10 to 100 tons of ammonia per day. Professor Sekine believes that their findings will be important for future energy and material sources.
The Latest on: Ammonia production
Global Chemical Webinar in Review: Upstream Production Drives Downstream Plants, an Industrial Info News Alert
on July 10, 2018 at 5:17 am
The webinar touched on ethylene, propylene, methanol and ammonia. To listen to the entire webinar, visit Industrial Info's Market Outlook Library, where you can access past web-based presentations, as ... […]
Electrochemically-produced ammonia could revolutionize food production
on July 9, 2018 at 1:12 pm
Steven McIntosh wants to transform the way ammonia is produced. He hopes to create a viable alternative to the conventional method, which uses massive amounts of energy and emits harmful carbon dioxid... […]
Intratec Discloses Costs of Ammonia Production From Natural Gas
on July 6, 2018 at 6:12 am
Intratec Solutions LLC, leading provider of chemicals and utilities pricing data and production cost reports, is pleased to announce a new report examining the costs of production of Ammonia. The repo... […]
LSB Industries says El Dorado plant resumes ammonia production
on July 5, 2018 at 11:21 am
LSB Industries (LXU-0.7%) says the ammonia plant at its El Dorado, Ark., chemical facility has resumed production, after being taken out of service on June 4 when a power outage resulted in tube failu... […]
LSB Industries, Inc. Announces That Its El Dorado, Arkansas Facility Resumes Ammonia Production
on July 5, 2018 at 8:42 am
LSB Industries, Inc. (LXU) (“LSB” or “the Company”) today announced that the ammonia plant at its El Dorado, Arkansas chemical facility (“El Dorado Facility” or “El Dorado”) resumed production on June ... […]
CO2 shortage has halted crumpet production and things just got real
on June 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm
The shortages are understood to have been caused by a longer than usual break in production of ammonia, one of the key sources of food grade CO2 in Europe – which is used to carbonate drinks and prese... […]
Star Refrigeration Advocates Ammonia as a Compelling Solution at…
on June 29, 2018 at 7:26 am
Two case studies from Star Refrigeration’s clients are given as examples of how the installation of ammonia plants delivered customer savings, one for food production and one ice rink application. The ... […]
Thatchers scale back production amid carbon dioxide shortage
on June 29, 2018 at 2:03 am
A lot of CO2 is created as a by-product from ammonia production that is used in the fertiliser industry. Other sources are bio-ethanol plants. However, a number of big mainland European fertiliser pla... […]
via Google News and Bing News