2D copper-based nanomaterials for electrochemical reduction of nitrogen to ammonia

Supervisory team: Dr. Ali Jalili, Mrs. Jing Sun, Dr. Emma Lovell and Scientia Prof. Rose Amal


Ammonia (NH3) is one of the indispensable building blocks of biological compounds in organisms and extremely important an indispensable ingredient for fertilisers that ensure enough supply of food to humanity. NH3 production has been fulfilled by the Harber-Bosch process, which is highly energy-intensive (using 2% of overall energy consumption globally) and normally operated at extreme conditions, producing substantial CO2 emission. Therefore, it is essential to develop clean and sustainable strategies for NH3 synthesis under mild conditions. Electrochemical synthesis of NH3 is regarded as an ideal process in which N2 and H2O are converted to NH3 directly using electric energy at ambient condition.

The host of this project, Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PARTCAT), is a leading (photo(electro)) catalysis research group within the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Building on their development in fundamental synthesis, functionalisation, characterisation and application of novel materials and catalyst systems, atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) copper-based nanomaterials will be synthesised over this project for efficient electrochemical reduction of nitrogen to ammonia.

2D copper based for N2 reduction to NH3

Suitable for:

This laboratory-based project has a cross-disciplinary nature that links chemistry, chemical engineering and additive manufacturing technology. It is suitable for candidates with a background in chemical engineering, materials engineering, mechanical engineering, physics or chemistry.

Level of difficulty: Average

For more information please contact Dr. Ali Jalili at ali.jalili@unsw.edu.au