Alternative production method for green ammonia
At the Department of Chemistry researchers are working on the development of an alternative production method for ammonia. The aim is to replace the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process with a less energy-demanding process based on renewable electricity, thus providing a route to the production of green ammonia.
Enzymes are biological catalysts that increase the speed of chemical reactions without being consumed. In soil, bacterial nitrogenase enzymes efficiently produce ammonia from water and nitrogen from the air at room temperature. To develop a less energy-demanding ammonia production process, we will take inspiration from these enzymes.
The central, catalytically active component of the nitrogenase enzymes consists of the metal molybdenum. One important task in the project will be to develop industrially compatible molybdenum-based catalysts using a combination of computer-based prediction and robot-based high-throughput experiments. During catalyst development, the ammonia production process will be driven by energy from a chemical compound. A central challenge in the project will be to adapt the process to be powered by electricity instead of chemical energy. While the process currently is at the research stage, the overall goal is to design an electrocatalytic, energy-efficient process for ammonia production.
At present, our research is funded via FEM HyValue - one of two national research centers for environmentally friendly energy with hydrogen as a theme - the Ammonia Production via Electrocatalytic Processes (AmPEP) project. Both FME HyValue and AmPEP involve user partners, including Equinor and Maritime CleanTech - Cluster for Clean Maritime Solutions, in addition to the Research Council of Norway.