Catalytic Combustion of Ammonia as a Zero-Carbon Fuel: Catalyst Design and Mechanistic Studies

Lead Research Organisation: CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY
Department Name: School of Water, Energy and Environment


A mature commodity that can be readily made from renewable resources, ammonia (NH3) offers an environmentally sustainable and low-cost means of transition from fossil fuels to a clean, low-carbon and renewable energy future. The technical challenge is to combust NH3 efficiently with low nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions due to the extremely low flame speed, narrow flammability and high nitrogen content in the fuel.

Catalytic combustion offers a promising technology to burn ammonia which is not constrained by the flame speed, flammability limits and have low combustion temperature to supress thermal-NOx formation. Development of cheap yet effective combustion catalysts is therefore needed. The combustion catalysts should be sufficiently active at low temperature for start-up and are able to sustain activity and mechanical integrity at high temperature and has negligible NOx formation in NH3 combustion. This research proposes to incorporate self-induced electrochemical promotion phenomena into the design of combustion catalysts using cheap transition metal oxides, and through this work, the new concept will be validated as a new combustion catalyst design strategy and the underlying structure-performance relationships of catalysts will be revealed. The scientific knowledge to be harnessed will enable the development of effective combustion catalysts to unlock a zero-carbon economy using ammonia as a fuel.


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