Study of Cu-Rh electrodes for nitrate electrochemical reduction
Dimitra Anastasiadou a, Jasmijn T.D. Janssen a, Emiel Hensen a, Marta Costa Figueiredo a
a Chemical Engineering & Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Online Conference
Proceedings of International Conference on Electrocatalysis for Energy Applications and Sustainable Chemicals (EcoCat)
Online, Spain, 2020 November 23rd - 25th
Organizers: Ward van der Stam, Marta Costa Figueiredo, Sixto Gimenez Julia, Núria López and Bastian Mei
Poster, Dimitra Anastasiadou, 068
Publication date: 6th November 2020

The nitrogen cycle (N- cycle) is a widely studied topic in the field of catalysis and electrocatalysis.1Nitrogen, aside from its importance for our biological and environmental processes, is also a valuable and highly used element in agriculture and many industrial processes. Unfortunately, the extensive use of fertilizers and the amount of industrial waste leads to a high nitrate (NO3-) concentration in water. This high concentration of NO3- contaminant in water, apart from destabilizing the N- cycle, is connected to many human health problems. According to the World Health Organization, the maximum allowed concentration of NO3- in drinking water is 50mg/l and 3mg/l of NO2-.2 Therefore, we require technologies that can remove the over-the-limit concentration of NOy from water. Moreover, Haber-Bosch is the main industrial method of producing NH3and a major contributor of CO2 emissions, therefore the development of new technologies and catalysts that can successfully form NH3 is pivotal.

In this work we target the electrocatalytic synthesis of NH3 from the reduction of NO3. Out of the noble metals studied for the nitrogen oxides reduction reaction (NOyRR) the activity of Rh was found to be the highest towards the NH3 formation. Additionally, earlier research with coinage metals found only Cu to be active in the NOyRR to NH3.3,4 Even though monometallic catalysts promote the formation of specific products; bimetallic or alloys allow the local modification of the surface properties and inherently changes the electroactive species. 5,6 Thus, to reduce the amount of noble metals used, accelerating the rate-determining steps, and steering the selectivity towards the desired product yield, a Cu-Rh bimetallic system is studied.


1 V. Rosca, M. Duca, M. T. de Groot and M. T. M. Koper, Chem. Rev., 2009, 109, 2209–2244.

2 World Health Organization., Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality: Fourth Edition Incorporating the First Addendum, 2014.

3 M. Duca, B. van der Klugt and M. T. M. Koper, Electrochim. Acta, 2012, 68, 32–43.

4 D. Reyter, D. Bélanger and L. Roué, Electrochim. Acta, 2008, 53, 5977–5984.

5 L. Mattarozzi, S. Cattarin, N. Comisso, P. Guerriero, M. Musiani, L. Vázquez-Gómez and E. Verlato, Electrochim. Acta, 2013, 89, 488–496.

6 N. Comisso, S. Cattarin, P. Guerriero, L. Mattarozzi, M. Musiani, L. Vázquez-Gómez and E. Verlato, J. Solid State Electrochem., 2016, 20, 1139–1148.

© Fundació Scito
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