Research ArticleChemistry

Carbon-free H2 production from ammonia triggered at room temperature with an acidic RuO2/γ-Al2O3 catalyst

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Science Advances  28 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1602747
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602747


Ammonia has been suggested as a carbon-free hydrogen source, but a convenient method for producing hydrogen from ammonia with rapid initiation has not been developed. Ideally, this method would require no external energy input. We demonstrate hydrogen production by exposing ammonia and O2 at room temperature to an acidic RuO2/γ-Al2O3 catalyst. Because adsorption of ammonia onto the catalyst is exothermic, the catalyst bed is rapidly heated to the catalytic ammonia autoignition temperature, and subsequent oxidative decomposition of ammonia produces hydrogen. A differential calorimeter combined with a volumetric gas adsorption analyzer revealed a large quantity of heat evolved both with chemisorption of ammonia onto RuO2 and acidic sites on the γ-Al2O3 and with physisorption of multiple ammonia molecules.

  • heterogeneous catalyst
  • Renewable Energy
  • hydrogen carrier
  • energy carrier
  • fuel cell
  • hydrogen engine
  • oxidative decomposition of ammonia
  • adsorption heat
  • internal heat generation

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