Nano Research

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 919–924 | Cite as

Hexagonal boron nitride nanosheet for effective ambient N2 fixation to NH3

  • Ya Zhang
  • Huitong Du
  • Yongjun Ma
  • Lei Ji
  • Haoran Guo
  • Ziqi Tian
  • Hongyu Chen
  • Hong Huang
  • Guanwei Cui
  • Abdullah M. Asiri
  • Fengli QuEmail author
  • Liang ChenEmail author
  • Xuping SunEmail author
Research Article


Industrial production of NH3 from N2 and H2 significantly relies on Haber–Bosch process, which suffers from high energy consume and CO2 emission. As a sustainable and environmentally-benign alternative process, electrochemical artificial N2 fixation at ambient conditions, however, is highly required efficient electrocatalysts. In this study, we demonstrate that hexagonal boron nitride nanosheet (h-BNNS) is able to electrochemically catalyze N2 to NH3. In acidic solution, h-BNNS catalyst attains a high NH3 formation rate of 22.4 μg·h–1·mg–1cat. and a high Faradic efficiency of 4.7% at–0.75 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode, with excellent stability and durability. Density functional theory calculations reveal that unsaturated boron at the edge site can activate inert N2 molecule and significantly reduce the energy barrier for NH3 formation.


boron nitride nanosheet N2 reduction reaction NH3 electrosynthesis ambient conditions density functional theory 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21575137, 21775089, and 21375076), the Key Research and Development Program of Shandong Province (No. 2015GSF121031) and the Natural Science Foundation Projects of Shandong Province (Nos. ZR2017JL010, ZR2017QB008, and ZR2017LEE006).

Supplementary material

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Hexagonal boron nitride nanosheet for effective ambient N2 fixation to NH3


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ya Zhang
    • 1
  • Huitong Du
    • 2
  • Yongjun Ma
    • 3
  • Lei Ji
    • 1
  • Haoran Guo
    • 4
  • Ziqi Tian
    • 4
  • Hongyu Chen
    • 1
  • Hong Huang
    • 1
  • Guanwei Cui
    • 5
  • Abdullah M. Asiri
    • 6
  • Fengli Qu
    • 3
    Email author
  • Liang Chen
    • 4
    Email author
  • Xuping Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Fundamental and Frontier SciencesUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduChina
  2. 2.College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringQufu Normal UniversityQufuChina
  3. 3.Analytical and Test CenterSouthwest University of Science and TechnologyMianyangChina
  4. 4.Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and EngineeringChinese Academy of SciencesNingboChina
  5. 5.College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceShandong Normal UniversityJinanChina
  6. 6.Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science & Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials ResearchKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

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