Approaching major DARE2X milestones – Headway in Catalyst and reactor materials for Green Ammonia

The DARE2X project consortium is making significant progress towards its goal of developing a low-pressure and temperature, decentralized ammonia production process. The partners have been working on the optimal catalyst materials and parameters.

Decision on catalyst materials for the plasma reactor:

The Danish Technological Institute (DTI, project coordinator) has been working on the experimental synthesis and testing of materials to find the most active catalytic surface for ammonia synthesis in the plasma reactor. The experimental results showed that Ni- and Co-based materials performed the best. In addition, the research showed that the support material for the catalyst has a greater influence on performance compared to the metal itself, highlighting the importance of optimising the support structure.

ENSO Innovation, partners responsible for the life cycle assessment, applied this methodology for selecting the most environmentally promising catalysts, thus complementing the technical testing. The preliminary results recommended using Ni-based materials, to reduce the use of critical raw materials and lessen environmental impact. Finally, the results identified the use of solvent and electricity as areas with significant environmental impact, which will be a particular focus during the scaling-up process to ensure the DARE2X project developments are optimising performance while minimising the environmental footprint.

In addition to these experiments, the Kemijski inštitut – National Institute of Chemistry (NIC), performed the catalyst screening using a Density Functional Theory (DFT). After computing the full mechanism for 10 transition metals and their descriptors, they identified crucial correlations between nitrogen and hydrogen adsorption energies, impacting complex reaction steps. These findings concluded with a screening of the entire periodic table, pinpointing the most promising metals.

The Danish Technological Institute team testing the catalytic materials 

Decision on sorption and catalyst integration based on lab-scale testing:

The partner Hulteberg Chemistry & Engineering (HB) also made significant contributions. They synthesized various zeolite materials and evaluated their NH3 adsorption capacity under different conditions in static and dynamic tests. Temperature, pressure, and flow regimes were evaluated to identify the kinetic behaviour of the adsorption and regeneration of the zeolites. The zeolite with the highest ammonia capacity and stability in the plasma reaction for many regeneration cycles was chosen as the best solution for integration with the catalyst material.

Furthermore, NIC’s work combining the systematic computational modeling with experimental results played a vital role in making the final decision on the novel catalyst design.

Adsorbents tested in the Hulteberg Chemistry & Engineering facilities

Lab-scale reactor operation parameters identified:

The University of Liverpool (UoL) has made significant strides in optimizing the operating parameters. The cylindrical dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) non-thermal plasma reactor is designed to synthesize ammonia from N2 and H2 at low temperatures and ambient pressure. The UoL’s research focused on understanding how various operating parameters, reactor parameters, and catalysts influence the reaction performance of plasma ammonia synthesis. The findings from this investigation were actively discussed with DTI, NIC, and HB. This collaborative exchange aimed to establish a common understanding of the optimal conditions needed for the next stage of R&D within DARE2X.

The University of Liverpool has undertaken an investigation targeting diverse operating, reactor, and catalyst parameters with the ultimate goal of identifying the most promising pathway for sustainable ammonia production

The DARE2X project is led by the Danish Technological Institute (project coordinator), Hulteberg Chemistry & Engineering,  the Kemijski inštitut – National Institute of Chemistry (NIC), the University of Liverpool, LOMARTOV, and ENSO Innovation.  Major milestones and project achievements are on our way. Stay connected!