A novel approach to ammonia decomposition


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This talk discusses a new type of process for the cracking of ammonia (NH3) that is an alternative to the use of rare or transition metal catalysts. Effecting the decomposition of NH3 using the concurrent stoichiometric decomposition and regeneration of sodium amide (NaNH2) via sodium metal (Na), this represents a significant departure in reaction mechanism compared with traditional surface catalysts. In variable-temperature NH3 decomposition experiments, using a simple flow reactor, the Na/NaNH2 system shows superior performance to supported nickel and ruthenium catalysts, reaching 99.2% decomposition efficiency with 0.5 g of NaNH2 in a 60 sccm NH3 flow at 530 °C. As an abundant and inexpensive material, the development of NaNH2-based NH3 cracking systems may promote the utilization of NH3 for sustainable energy storage purposes.