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What is it?

Hydrogen and nitrogen are reacted via the use of non-thermal plasma, which provides sufficient energy for reaction and conversion to ammonia.

Why is it important?

Non-thermal plasma could facilitate the synthesis of ammonia at temperature and pressure ranges much lower than those required for the traditional Haber-Bosch process.

Furthermore, plasma processes are likely to be suitable for small-scale on-site ammonia production.


  • Volumetric hydrogen density: High (10.7kg H2 / m3 at 10 bar and 25°C)
  • Gravimetric hydrogen density: High (17.8% by mass)
  • Storage conditions: Liquid at ambient temperature, 10-11 bar pressure
  • Roundtrip Energy efficiency: Assumed synthesis efficiency ~10 times lower than Haber-Bosch process


  • Low temperature and pressure ammonia synthesis
  • Fast switch-on/off times can accommodate intermittent energy sources
  • Decentralised ammonia production possible


  • Does not allow direct synthesis of ammonia
  • High-cost ruthenium catalyst

RD&D priorities

  • Develop cheaper catalyst alternatives
  • Increase production rate
  • Develop improved understanding of fundamental interactions and reaction mechanism
  • Increase process efficiency

Known active organisations

  • Queensland University of Technology
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Western Australia

Other opportunities like this

  • Ammonia is synthesised by reacting hydrogen with nitrogen gas at high temperatures and pressures.

  • Hydrogen is reacted with toluene to form methylcyclohexane (MCH), a compound that can be transported at ambient temperature and pressure.

  • Methanol is conventionally synthesised at large scale from synthesis gas (or syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide typically at an H₂/CO ratio of 1.8 ~ 2.2, derived through steam reforming of natural gas or steam gasification of coal.

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