Selective chemical conversion of nitrogen compounds

September 13, 2022

Regulation of catalytic reactions based on decoupled proton-electron transfer

The international collaborative research group including RIKEN CSRS, RIKEN CEMS, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Korea Basic Science Institute succeeded in the selective synthesis of different nitrogen compounds using a single electrocatalyst.

Nitrite ion (NO2-) reduction can produce various compounds such as nitrogen monoxide (NO), dinitrogen monoxide (N2O), ammonia (NH3), and nitrogen (N2). These chemicals are essential for the chemical industry, but it is difficult to use their mixture for chemical synthesis. Thus, an appropriate catalyst had to be selected for each reaction to obtain the desired compound.

In this study, the international collaborative group demonstrated that molybdenum sulfide (MoS2), which promotes decoupled proton-electron transfer, can synthesize various nitrogen compounds selectively by modulating reaction conditions such as pH and electric potential.

These findings promote the detoxification of nitrite ions (NO2-) which cause environmental pollution, and help establish chemical processes to selectively synthesize a desired nitrogen compound.

Original article
Nature Catalysis doi:10.1038/s41929-022-00833-z
D. He, H. Ooka, Y. Li, Y. Kim, A. Yamaguchi, K. Adachi, D. Hashizume, N. Yoshida, S. Toyoda, S. H. Kim, R. Nakamura,
"Regulation of the electrocatalytic nitrogen cycle based on sequential proton-electron transfer".
Ryuhei Nakamura; Team Leader
Hideshi Ooka; Research Scientist
Biofunctional Catalyst Research Team