Electrified Conversion of Contaminated Water to Value: Selective Conversion of Aqueous Nitrate to Ammonia in a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Cell

Sorin Bunea, Kevin Clemens, Atsushi Urakawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The application of a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolytic cell for continuous conversion of nitrate, one of the contaminants in water, to ammonia at the cathode was explored in the present work. Among carbon-supported metal (Cu, Ru, Rh and Pd) electrocatalysts, the Ru-based catalyst showed the best performance. By suppressing the competing hydrogen evolution reaction at the cathode, it was possible to reach 94 % faradaic efficiency for nitrate reduction towards ammonium. It was important to match the rate of the anodic reaction with the cathodic reaction to achieve high faradaic efficiency. By recirculating the effluent stream, 93 % nitrate conversion was achieved in 8 h of constant current electrolysis at 10 mA cm−2 current density. The presented approach offers a promising path towards precious NH3 production from nitrate-containing water that needs purification or can be obtained after capture of gaseous NOx pollutants into water, leading to waste-to-value conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202102180
Pages (from-to)26080-26086
JournalChemSusChem
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • ammonia synthesis
  • catalysis
  • electrochemistry
  • nitrate reduction
  • PEM electrolysis

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