Chinese Journal of Applied Chemistry ›› 2023, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 9-23.DOI: 10.19894/j.issn.1000-0518.220138

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Theoretical Research Progress of Single Atom Catalysts in Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia

Rong CAO1,2, Jie-Zhen XIA1,2, Man-Hua LIAO1,2, Lu-Chao ZHAO1,2, Chen ZHAO1,2, Qi WU1,2()   

  1. 1.Department of Physics,Tibet University,Lhasa 850000,China
    2.Institute of Oxygen Supply,Tibet University,Lhasa 850000,China
  • Received:2022-04-16 Accepted:2022-08-07 Published:2023-01-01 Online:2023-01-28
  • Contact: Qi WU
  • About
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(22168036);the Central for the Reform and Development of Local Colleges and Universities Funding Project(Zangcaijiaozhi[2021]1-21);Tibet University Postgraduate Students High-Level Talent Training Plan Project(2020-GSP-S039)


Ammonia synthesis in the traditional Haber-Bosch process requires large energy consumption and complex plant infrastructure. Driven by the development of renewable energy, electrocatalysts for the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) have attracted ever-growing attention and have been considered as the most efficient alternative to the catalyst in the Haber-Bosch process. However, this process suffers from low NH3 production and Faradaic efficiency. Therefore, the development of more efficient electrocatalysts is crucial for their practical applications. Among the previously reported catalysts, single-atom catalysts (SACs) exhibit significant advantages in efficient utilization of atoms and unsaturated coordination, providing a huge scope for optimizing catalyst performance. In this paper, the theoretical research of single-atom catalysts in electrochemical ammonia synthesis is reviewed, and the performance of three types of single-atom catalysts, namely noble metal catalysts, non-precious metal catalysts and metal-free catalysts, is analyzed in detail, aiming to provide new ideas for the development of electrochemical ammonia synthesis technology.

Key words: Single-atom catalyst, Electrochemical ammonia synthesis, Reaction mechanism, Catalyst activation, Catalyst support

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