Nitrate electrochemical reduction to ammonia on Cu2O catalysts

01 December 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


This manuscript reports the electrosynthesis of ammonia from nitrate catalysed by Cu2O. Cu2O (111) and (100) preferential orientations were prepared through electrodeposition to investigate the effect of surface structure. Cu2O (111) is more active and selective for ammonia formation than Cu2O (100). The highest faradaic efficiency (FE) was achieved for both catalysts at -0.3 V vs RHE, with Cu2O (111) reaching up to 80%. Additional measurements with quasi-in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and in-situ Raman spectroscopy revealed that Cu0 is the active phase during the reaction. The stability of the catalysts was examined by ex-situ methods such as scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. The catalysts undergo severe morphological changes as a function of the applied potential and the reaction time, most likely due to the dissolution and redeposition of Cu. After three hours of reaction, the entire surface of the catalysts was reconstructed into nanoneedles. The final FE was still higher for the original Cu2O (111) electrode.


ammonia electrosynthesis
nitrate reduction reaction

Supplementary materials

SI Nitrate electrochemical reduction to ammonia on Cu2O catalysts
Supporting materail and graphs for the main paper.


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