Researchers Developed New Catalyst from Ammonia

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Researchers developed a new catalyst from ammonia, which can be turned into an innovative fuel, according to a study conducted on April 27, 2018.

Hydrogen is a renewable source of energy, however, converting large amounts of hydrogen into liquid form is a difficult process. Among the possible forms of liquid hydrogen, ammonia (NH3) is a promising carrier because it has high hydrogen density, is easily liquefied, and can be produced on a large-scale.

Furthermore, ammonia has been drawing attention recently as a carbon-free alternative fuel. It is a combustible gas that can be widely used in thermal power generation and industrial furnaces as an alternative to gasoline and light oil. A catalytic combustion method was developed by the researchers at the International Research Organization for Advanced Science and Technology (IROAST) in Kumamoto University, Japan solve the NH3 fuel problems.

Substances that promote or suppress chemical reactions during fuel combustion are added during that reaction. Recently, they succeeded in developing a new catalyst which improves NH3 combustibility and suppresses the generation of NOx. The novel catalyst (CuOx/3A2S) is a multi-type crystal structure 3Al2O3·2SiO2 (3A2S) carrying copper oxide (CuOx). When ammonia was burned with this catalyst, researchers found that it stayed highly active in the selective production of N2.

Manufacturing of this new catalyst is easy and requires low cost. It allows for the decomposition of NH3 into H2 with the heat from NH3 fuel combustion and the purification of NH3 through oxidation. Dr. Satoshi Hinokuma, study leader said, “Our catalyst appears to be a step in the right direction to fight anthropogenic climate change since it does not emit greenhouse gasses like CO2 and should improve the sophistication of renewable energy within our society. We are planning to conduct further research and development under more practical conditions in the future.”

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