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A Low-temperature Ammonia Electrolyser for Wastewater Treatment and Hydrogen Production


Ammonia is a pollutant present in wastewater and is also a valuable, carbon-free hydrogen carrier. Stripping, recovery, and anodic oxidation of ammonia to produce hydrogen via electrolysis is gaining momentum as a technology, yet the development of an inexpensive, stable catalytic material is imperative to reduce cost. Here, we report on a new nickel copper (NiCu) catalyst electrodeposited onto a high surface area nickel felt (NF) as an anode for ammonia electrolysis. Cyclic voltammetry demonstrated that the catalyst/substrate combination reached the highest current density (200 mA cm2 at 20 C) achieved for a non-noble metal catalyst. A NiCu/NF electrode was tested in an anion exchange membrane electrolyser for 50 h; it showed good stability and high Faradaic efficiency for ammonia oxidation (88%) and hydrogen production (99%). We demonstrate that this novel electrode catalyst/substrate material combination can oxidise ammonia in a scaled system, and hydrogen can be produced as a valuable by-product at industrial-level current densities and cell voltages lower than that for water electrolysis.

Funding source: The Authors would like to thank the European Union and the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework Programme for funding this research under the project REWAISE grant agreement No. 869496.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: United Kingdom

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