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Journal Article

Barium chromium nitride-hydride for ammonia synthesis


Weidenthaler,  Claudia
Research Group Weidenthaler, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Guan, Y., Zhang, W., Wang, Q., Weidenthaler, C., Wu, A., Gao, W., et al. (2021). Barium chromium nitride-hydride for ammonia synthesis. Chem Catalysis, 1(5), 1042-1054. doi:10.1016/j.checat.2021.08.006.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-591F-2
Early 3d metals such as chromium can easily dissociate N2, but the subsequent hydrogenation to ammonia is difficult because they bind nitrogen too strongly. Hence, investigation of Cr-based catalysts for ammonia synthesis is very rare. Here we show that when Cr compounds with Ba, N, and H forming a nitride-hydride, effective ammonia synthesis catalysis can be achieved under mild conditions. Under 573 K and 10 bar, this catalyst has an ammonia synthesis rate (6.8 mmolNH3gcat−1h−1) that is about four times that of the Cs-Ru/MgO catalyst. With low apparent activation energy (50.1 kJ mol−1) and positive reaction orders of H2 and N2, it can produce observable ammonia at 373 K and 1 bar. The active phase has a Ba5CrN4H-like structure containing reactive hydrogen (H-) and nitrogen, which are involved in the ammonia formation. This work discloses a strategy to “activate” the inactive early transition metals for effective ammonia catalysis.