Atomically Dispersed Molybdenum Catalysts for Efficient Ambient Nitrogen Fixation

Lili Han, Xijun Liu, Jinping Chen, Ruoqian Lin, Haoxuan Liu, L. U. Fang, Seongmin Bak, Zhixiu Liang, Shunzheng Zhao, Eli Stavitski, Jun Luo, Radoslav R. Adzic, Huolin L. Xin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


NH 3 synthesis by the electrocatalytic N 2 reduction reaction (NRR) under ambient conditions is an appealing alternative to the currently employed industrial method—the Haber–Bosch process—that requires high temperature and pressure. We report single Mo atoms anchored to nitrogen-doped porous carbon as a cost-effective catalyst for the NRR. Benefiting from the optimally high density of active sites and hierarchically porous carbon frameworks, this catalyst achieves a high NH 3 yield rate (34.0±3.6 μg NH3 h −1 mg cat. −1 ) and a high Faradaic efficiency (14.6±1.6 %) in 0.1 m KOH at room temperature. These values are considerably higher compared to previously reported non-precious-metal electrocatalysts. Moreover, this catalyst displays no obvious current drop during a 50 000 s NRR, and high activity and durability are achieved in 0.1 m HCl. The findings provide a promising lead for the design of efficient and robust single-atom non-precious-metal catalysts for the electrocatalytic NRR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2321-2325
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFA0700104), National Natural Science Foundation of China (21601136 and 51761165012), National Program for Thousand Young Talents of China, Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission (15JCYBJC52600), Tianjin Municipal Education Commission, and the Fundamental Research Fund of Tianjin University of Technology. This research used resources of the National Synchrotron Light Source II and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facilities operated for the DOE Office of Science by Brookhaven National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-SC0012704. S.B. was supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technology Office of the US Department of Energy through the Advanced Battery Materials Research (BMR) Program, including the Battery500 Consortium under contract DE-SC0012704 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The work by Z.L. and R.R.A. was supported by the Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, & Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences and carried out under Contract No. DE-SC0012704 with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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