My watch list
my.chemeurope.com  
Login  

Direct nitrogen fixation for low cost energy conversion

24-Jul-2013

A simple, low-cost and eco-friendly method of creating nitrogen-doped graphene nanoplatelets (NGnPs), which could be used in dye-sensitized solar cells and fuel cells, is published in Scientific Reports. The work, carried out at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, could be a step towards replacing conventional platinum (Pt)-based catalysts for energy conversion.

The search for economically viable alternatives to fossil fuels has attracted attention among energy communities because of increasing energy prices and climate change. Solar cells and fuel cells are to be promising alternatives, but Pt-based electrodes are expensive and susceptible to environmental damage.

Nitrogen fixation is where nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia (NH3). Fixation processes free up nitrogen atoms from their diatomic form to be used in other ways, but nitrogen does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds.

The most common method of industrial nitrogen fixation is the Harber-Bosch process, which requires extremely harsh conditions, 200 atm of pressure and 400 °C of temperature.

The UNIST team previously reported that dry ball-milling can efficiently produce chemically modified graphene particles in large quantities*. This research, in Scientific Reports, presents another innovation to improve the materials. Along the way, the research team discovered a novel nitrogen fixation process.

They focus on modifications with nitrogen, developing a technique with direct nitrogen fixation, carbon-nitrogen bond formation, at the broken edges of graphite frameworks using ball-milling graphite in the presence of nitrogen gas.

“Nitrogen is the most abundant constituent in air and it is inert diatomic gas while graphite is the most thermodynamically stable form of carbon allotropes,” said Prof. Baek, professor and director of the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy/Low-Dimensional Carbon Materials Center, UNIST. “It is an extreme challenge for the C-N bond formation directly from graphite and nitrogen.”

Original publication:

Direct nitrogen fixation at the edges of graphene nanoplatelets as efficient electrocatalysts for energy conversion, Scientific Reports, 2013

Facts, background information, dossiers
More about UNIST
  • News

    Novel catalyst for rechargeable metal-air batteries

    Research in lithium-ion batteries has opened up a plethora of possibilities in the development of next-generation batteries. In particular, the metal-air batteries with significantly greater energy density close to that of gasoline per kilogram, has recently been acknowledged and invested b ... more

    A wearable solar thermoelectric generator

    A recent study, led by Professor Kyoung Jin Choi in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at UNIST has introduced a new advanced energy harvesting system, capable of generating electricity by simply being attached to clothes, windows, and outer walls of a building. This new device ... more

    New world efficiency record with perovskite solar cells

    A recent study, affiliated with UNIST finds key to produce a new cost-efficient way to produce inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite solar cells (PSCs) which sets a new world-record efficiency performance of 22.1 % in small cells and 19.7 percent in 1-square-centimeter cells. This breakthroug ... more

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE