Effect of Electrolyte and Electrode Configuration on Cu-Catalyzed Nitric Oxide Reduction to Ammonia

Piotr M. Krzywda, Ainoa Paradelo Rodríguez, Nieck E. Benes, Bastian T. Mei*, Guido Mul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Reduction of nitric oxide was investigated using Cu electrodes in acid and neutral pH conditions. Analysis of Cu discs in stagnant electrolyte by Electrochemical Mass Spectrometry (EC-MS), revealed the favorable formation of ammonia (and hydrogen) in acidic electrolyte, while N2O and N2 are formed in significant quantities at neutral conditions. Additional performance evaluation of Cu electrodes in hollow fiber geometry, was performed using 10 vol % NO in Ar supplied through the porous electrode structure and off-line determination of ammonia by 1H NMR spectroscopy. The pH dependent performance of the Cu hollow fiber is in agreement with EC-MS data at low gas flow rates, showing the highest ammonia selectivity in acidic conditions. However, at relatively high gas flow rates, almost 90 % faradaic efficiency and a NH3 production rate of 400 μmol h−2 cm−2 were obtained in neutral electrolyte at −0.6 V vs RHE, likely due to enhanced availability of NO at the electrode surface, suppressing the hydrogen evolution reaction. This approach shows conversion of waste NO gas to valuable green fertilizer components is possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202101273
Issue number5
Early online date19 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022


  • Hollow fiber electrode
  • Green ammonia
  • Nitric oxide reduction
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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