Abstract: DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201800369 reactions involved. In recent years, tremendous progress has been achieved in the field of heterogeneous electrocatalysis, with rapid development of multifarious electocatalysts toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), oxygen evolution reaction (OER), hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), and carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CO2RR). However, electrocatalysts for the reduction of dinitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3) at room temperature and atmospheric pressure remain largely underexplored, despite the fact that investigations on catalysts and reaction systems for artificial nitrogen fixation have been continued for more than 100 years.[2–4] Ammonia is primarily used for producing fertilizers to sustain the world’s population. It also serves as a green energy carrier and a potential transportation fuel. Currently, ammonia synthesis is dominated by the industrial Haber–Bosch process using heterogeneous iron-based catalysts at high temperature (300–500 °C) and high pressure (150–300 atm), accounting for more than 1% of the world’s energy supply and generating more than 300 million metric tons of fossil fuel–derived CO2 annually.[8,9] Hence, it is desirable to develop alternative processes that have the potential to overcome the limitations of the Haber–Bosch process including harsh conditions, complex plant infrastructure, centralized distribution, high energy consumption, and negative environmental impacts. In nature, biological N2 fixation occurs under mild conditions via nitrogenase enzymes that contain FeMo, FeV, or FeFe cofactor as catalytic active sites.[10,11] Developed man-made catalysts are therefore stimulated to reduce N2 upon the addition of protons and electrons, which is similar to the nitrogenase catalytic process. Transition metal–dinitrogen complexes such as the molybdenum–, iron–, and cobalt–dinitrogen complexes have been proposed as homogeneous catalysts for the reduction of N2 into NH3 under ambient conditions; however, the stability and recycling issues are challenging. On the other hand, electrochemical and photochemical reduction processes using heterogeneous catalysts benefit from clean and renewable energy sources and are promising for achieving NH3 production directly from N2 and water. The electrochemical reduction of N2 to NH3 can be more efficient than the photochemical counterpart. This is because not all of the photons in the photochemical reduction process can The production of ammonia (NH3) from molecular dinitrogen (N2) under mild conditions is one of the most attractive topics in the field of chemistry. Electrochemical reduction of N2 is promising for achieving clean and sustainable NH3 production with lower energy consumption using renewable energy sources. To date, emerging electrocatalysts for the electrochemical reduction of N2 to NH3 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure remain largely underexplored. The major challenge is to achieve both high catalytic activity and high selectivity. Here, the recent progress on the electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) at ambient temperature and pressure from both theoretical and experimental aspects is summarized, aiming at extracting instructive perceptions for future NRR research activities. The prevailing theories and mechanisms for NRR as well as computational screening of promising materials are presented. State-of-the-art heterogeneous electrocatalysts as well as rational design of the whole electrochemical systems for NRR are involved. Importantly, promising strategies to enhance the activity, selectivity, efficiency, and stability of electrocatalysts toward NRR are proposed. Moreover, ammonia determination methods are compared and problems relating to possible ammonia contamination of the system are mentioned so as to shed fresh light on possible standard protocols for NRR measurements.
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