Bioelectrochemical Haber-Bosch process: An ammonia-producing H-2/N-2 fuel cell

Milton, Ross D.
Cai, Rong
Abdellaoui, Sofiene
Leech, Dónal
De Lacey, Antonio L.
Pita, Marcos
Minteer, Shelley D.
Milton, Ross D., Cai, Rong, Abdellaoui, Sofiene, Leech, Dónal, De Lacey, Antonio L., Pita, Marcos, & Minteer, Shelley D. (2017). Bioelectrochemical Haber–Bosch Process: An Ammonia-Producing H2/N2 Fuel Cell. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 56(10), 2680-2683. doi: doi:10.1002/anie.201612500
Nitrogenases are the only enzymes known to reduce molecular nitrogen (N-2) to ammonia (NH3). By using methyl viologen (N, N'-dimethyl-4,4'-bipyridinium) to shuttle electrons to nitrogenase, N-2 reduction to NH3 can be mediated at an electrode surface. The coupling of this nitrogenase cathode with a bioanode that utilizes the enzyme hydrogenase to oxidize molecular hydrogen (H-2) results in an enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) that is able to produce NH3 from H-2 and N-2 while simultaneously producing an electrical current. To demonstrate this, a charge of 60 mC was passed across H-2/ N-2 EFCs, which resulted in the formation of 286 nmol NH3 mg (-1) MoFe protein, corresponding to a Faradaic efficiency of 26.4%.
Publisher DOI
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland