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An electric current is supplied to isolated nitrogenase enzymes, which reduce nitrogen gas (N₂) and water to form ammonia, whilst also producing hydrogen.



Technology

What is it?

An electric current is supplied to isolated nitrogenase enzymes, which reduce nitrogen gas (N2) and water to form ammonia, whilst also producing hydrogen.

Why is it important?

Ammonia can be synthesised under ambient conditions via the application of an electric current.

Characteristics

  • 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

Benefits

  • Occurs at ambient temperature and pressure. Less energy intensive than Haber-Bosch
  • Occurs at neutral pH

Limitations

  • Separation of ammonia and hydrogen required after production
  • Biological system is difficult to control
  • Metallo-protein is oxygen sensitive and usually negated by biology

RD&D priorities

  • Separation of ammonia and hydrogen required after production
  • Biological system is difficult to control
  • Metallo-protein is oxygen sensitive and usually negated by biology

Known active organisations

  • CSIRO

Other opportunities like this

  • Ammonia is synthesised from hydrogen and nitrogen via one of a variety of methods.

  • Hydrogen is produced via solid oxide electrolysis, then fed into a second reactor in which it is used as an input for ammonia synthesis.

  • Membrane based ammonia synthesis is a method in which hydrogen gas is supplied on one side of a dense metallic membrane, and nitrogen gas on the other.

Process group

Readiness Level

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