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Research Article | Open Access

High-efficiency electrocatalytic NO reduction to NH3 by nanoporous VN

Defeng Qi1,2,§Fang Lv2,§Tianran Wei1,§Mengmeng Jin2Ge Meng3Shusheng Zhang4Qian Liu5Wenxian Liu6Dui Ma1Mohamed S. Hamdy7Jun Luo2Xijun Liu1( )
MOE Key Laboratory of New Processing Technology for Non-Ferrous Metals and Materials, and Guangxi Key Laboratory of Processing for Non-Ferrous Metals and Featured Materials, School of Resource, Environments and Materials, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
Institute for New Energy Materials and Low-Carbon Technologies, Tianjin Key Lab for Photoelectric Materials & Devices, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin University of Technology, Tianjin 300384, China
Key Laboratory of Carbon Materials of Zhejiang Province, College of Chemistry and Materials Engineering, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou 325035, China
College of Chemistry, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450000, China
Institute for Advanced Study, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, China
College of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310014, China
Catalysis Research Group (CRG), Department of Chemistry, College of Science, King Khalid University, P.O. Box 9004, 61413 Abha, Saudi Arabia

§ Defeng Qi, Fang Lv, and Tianran Wei contributed equally to this work.

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Graphical Abstract


Electrocatalytic NO reduction reaction to generate NH3 under ambient conditions offers an attractive alternative to the energy-extensive Haber–Bosch route; however, the challenge still lies in the development of cost-effective and high-performance electrocatalysts. Herein, nanoporous VN film is first designed as a highly selective and stable electrocatalyst for catalyzing reduction of NO to NH3 with a maximal Faradaic efficiency of 85% and a peak yield rate of 1.05 × 10–7 mol·cm–2·s–1 (corresponding to 5,140.8 μg·h–1·mgcat.–1) at –0.6 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode in acid medium. Meanwhile, this catalyst maintains an excellent activity with negligible current density and NH3 yield rate decays over 40 h. Moreover, as a proof-of-concept of Zn–NO battery, it delivers a high power density of 2.0 mW·cm–2 and a large NH3 yield rate of 0.22 × 10–7 mol·cm–2·s–1 (corresponding to 1,077.1 μg·h–1·mgcat.–1), both of which are comparable to the best-reported results. Theoretical analyses confirm that the VN surface favors the activation and hydrogenation of NO by suppressing the hydrogen evolution. This work highlights that the electrochemical NO reduction is an eco-friendly and energy-efficient strategy to produce NH3.

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Nano Research Energy
Article number: e9120022
Cite this article:
Qi D, Lv F, Wei T, et al. High-efficiency electrocatalytic NO reduction to NH3 by nanoporous VN. Nano Research Energy, 2022, 1: e9120022.










Received: 28 May 2022
Revised: 29 June 2022
Accepted: 30 June 2022
Published: 07 July 2022
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Tsinghua University Press.

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