Integrated Ammonia Synthesis and Separation

Deepak K. Ojha, Matthew J. Kale, Alon V. McCormick, Michael Reese, Mahdi Malmali, Paul Dauenhauer, E. L. Cussler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ammonia is made by combining nitrogen and hydrogen at high pressure. In the conventional process on the left, these gases are partially reacted at about 400 °C, and ammonia is recovered by condensation at -20 °C. In an alternative shown in the center, the reactor is the same, but the more complete separation is conducted by absorption in metal chlorides at about 150-400 °C. In this work, both reaction and absorption are integrated to occur in the same vessel at 400 °C. Experiments are conducted by combining a conventional Fe-based catalyst with NiCl2 and MgCl2 sorbents in a semibatch reactor in the presence of stoichiometric nitrogen and hydrogen gases. This alternative has synthesis rates comparable with the other two but with a lower capital investment necessary for distributed ammonia synthesis using solar or wind energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18785-18792
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded, in part, by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award Number DE-AR0000804; in part, by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR,/ ML 2015, CH 76, SEC 2, SUBD 07A); and, in part, by the MnDRIVE initiative of the University of Minnesota (MNT11). The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • absorption
  • ammonia
  • reaction
  • sustainable


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