Promoting electrochemical ammonia synthesis by synergized performances of Mo2C-Mo2N heterostructure

Front Chem. 2023 Feb 16;11:1122150. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2023.1122150. eCollection 2023.


Hydrogen has become an indispensable aspect of sustainable energy resources due to depleting fossil fuels and increasing pollution. Since hydrogen storage and transport is a major hindrance to expanding its applicability, green ammonia produced by electrochemical method is sourced as an efficient hydrogen carrier. Several heterostructured electrocatalysts are designed to achieve significantly higher electrocatalytic nitrogen reduction (NRR) activity for electrochemical ammonia production. In this study, we controlled the nitrogen reduction performances of Mo2C-Mo2N heterostructure electrocatalyst prepared by a simple one pot synthesis method. The prepared Mo2C-Mo2N0.92 heterostructure nanocomposites show clear phase formation for Mo2C and Mo2N0.92, respectively. The prepared Mo2C-Mo2N0.92 electrocatalysts deliver a maximum ammonia yield of about 9.6 μg h-1 cm-2 and a Faradaic efficiency (FE) of about 10.15%. The study reveals the improved nitrogen reduction performances of Mo2C-Mo2N0.92 electrocatalysts due to the combined activity of the Mo2C and Mo2N0.92 phases. In addition, the ammonia production from Mo2C-Mo2N0.92 electrocatalysts is intended by the associative nitrogen reduction mechanism on Mo2C phase and by Mars-van-Krevelen mechanism on Mo2N0.92 phase, respectively. This study suggests the importance of precisely tuning the electrocatalyst by heterostructure strategy to substantially achieve higher nitrogen reduction electrocatalytic activity.

PMID:36874069 | PMC:PMC9980907 | DOI:10.3389/fchem.2023.1122150


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