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Journal Article

Limitations of Electrochemical Nitrogen Oxidation toward Nitrate


Wan,  Hao
Theory, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Wan, H., Bagger, A., & Rossmeisl, J. (2022). Limitations of Electrochemical Nitrogen Oxidation toward Nitrate. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 13(38), 8928-8934. doi:/10.1021/acs.jpclett.2c02459.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-336A-5
The electrocatalytic N2 oxidation reaction (NOR) using renewable electricity is a promising alternative to the industrial synthesis of nitrate from NH3 oxidation. However, breaking the triple bond in the nitrogen molecule is one of the most essential challenges in chemistry. In this work, we use density functional theory simulations to investigate the plausible reaction mechanisms of electrocatalytic NOR and its competition with oxygen evolution reaction (OER) at the atomic scale. We focus on the electrochemical conversion of inert N2 to active *NO during NOR. We propose formation of *N2O from *N2 and *O as the rate-determining step (RDS). Following the RDS, a microkinetic model is utilized to study the rate of NOR on metal oxides. Our results demonstrate that a lower activation energy is obtained when a catalyst binds *O weakly. We show that the reaction is extremely challenging but also that design strategies have been suggested to promote electrochemical NOR.