Synthesis of ammonia directly from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure

Rong Lan, John T. S. Irvine, Shanwen Tao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

266 Citations (Scopus)


The N equivalent to Nbond (225 kcal mol(-1)) in dinitrogen is one of the strongest bonds in chemistry therefore artificial synthesis of ammonia under mild conditions is a significant challenge. Based on current knowledge, only bacteria and some plants can synthesise ammonia from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure. Here, for the first time, we report artificial ammonia synthesis bypassing N-2 separation and H-2 production stages. A maximum ammonia production rate of 1.14 x 10(-5) mol m(-2) s(-1) has been achieved when a voltage of 1.6 V was applied. Potentially this can provide an alternative route for the mass production of the basic chemical ammonia under mild conditions. Considering climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels used for synthesis of ammonia by conventional methods, this is a renewable and sustainable chemical synthesis process for future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1145
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2013


  • Conductivity
  • Nafion membranes
  • Electrochemical synthesis
  • Catalytic-reduction
  • Electrolyte
  • Nitrogen
  • Protonic conductors
  • Dinitrogen
  • Fuel-cells
  • Atmospheric-pressure


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthesis of ammonia directly from air and water at ambient temperature and pressure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this