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Nano Research

Article Title

Hexagonal boron nitride nanosheet for effective ambient N2 fixation to NH3

Authors

Ya Zhang, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
Huitong Du, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Qufu Normal University, Qufu 273165, China
Yongjun Ma, Analytical and Test Center, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
Lei Ji, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
Haoran Guo, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ningbo 315201, China
Ziqi Tian, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ningbo 315201, China
Hongyu Chen, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
Hong Huang, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
Guanwei Cui, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
Abdullah M. Asiri, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science & Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials Research, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80203, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
Fengli Qu, Analytical and Test Center, Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621010, China
Liang Chen, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ningbo 315201, China
Xuping Sun, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China

Keywords

boron nitride nanosheet, N2 reduction reaction, NH3 electrosynthesis, ambient conditions, density functional theory

Abstract

Industrial production of NH3 from N2 and H2 significantly relies on Haber−Bosch process, which suffers from high energy consume and CO2 emission. As a sustainable and environmentally-benign alternative process, electrochemical artificial N2 fixation at ambient conditions, however, is highly required efficient electrocatalysts. In this study, we demonstrate that hexagonal boron nitride nanosheet (h-BNNS) is able to electrochemically catalyze N2 to NH3. In acidic solution, h-BNNS catalyst attains a high NH3 formation rate of 22.4 μg·h−1·mg−1cat. and a high Faradic efficiency of 4.7% at −0.75 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode, with excellent stability and durability. Density functional theory calculations reveal that unsaturated boron at the edge site can activate inert N2 molecule and significantly reduce the energy barrier for NH3 formation.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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