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A promising catalyst for low-temperature ammonia synthesis

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Researchers led by professor Hideo Honoso at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Yokohama City, Japan; www.titech.ac.jp) have discovered a new catalyst that enhances the efficacy of NH3 synthesis by two orders of magnitude over that of a conventional Ru catalyst at temperatures below 300°C. Furthermore, the developed catalysts are said to be superior to the wüstite-based iron catalyst, which is known as a highly active industrial catalyst at low temperatures and pressures. The catalyst is composed of self-organized ruthenium-barium core-shell nanoparticles on a mesoporous calcium amide matrix, Ru/Ba-Ca(NH2)2. To make the catalyst, nanometer-sized Ru–Ba core–shell structures are self-organized onto a Ba-Ca(NH2)2 support with 3.3-nm dia. during H2 pretreatment at 500 °C. The support material is simultaneously converted into a mesoporous structure with a high surface area (>100 m2/g), which is higher than 17 m2/g of the raw Ba-Ca(NH2)2 support materials. These self-organized nanostructures account for the high catalytic performance in low-temperature NH3 synthesis. In laboratory trials, the Ru/Ba-Ca(NH2)2 catalyst performed NH3 synthesis with turnover velocity of 7.5 mmol/g.h at 250°C and 9 atm, well above that achieved by industrial…
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