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J. Korean Ceram. Soc. > Volume 58(6); 2021 > Article
Journal of the Korean Ceramic Society 2021;58(6): 679-687.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s43207-021-00142-4
3D‑printed cobalt‑rich tungsten carbide hierarchical electrode for efficient electrochemical ammonia production
Dong‑Kyu Lee1,2,3, Sung‑Jun Wee1,4, Kyung‑Jun Jang1,4, Mi‑Kyung Han1,2,3, Subramani Surendran1,2,3, Sung Yong Cho5, Joon Young Kim1,2,3,6, Sang‑Kyu Lee4, Uk Sim1,2,3,6
1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering Research Center, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, South Korea
2Optoelectronics Convergence Research Center, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, South Korea
3Future Energy Engineering Convergence, College of AI Convergence, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, South Korea
4Research Institute, 3D Controls Co. Ltd., Suwon, South Korea
5Department of Environment and Energy Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Republic of Korea
6Research Institute, Neel Sciences INC., Gwangju 61186, South Korea
Correspondence  Uk Sim ,Email: usim@jnu.ac.kr
Received: June 10, 2021; Revised: August 23, 2021   Accepted: September 4, 2021.  Published online: November 30, 2021.
The electrochemical approach for the feasible ammonia production via N2 fixation is well-thought-out to be an eco-friendly strategy to replace the polluting Haber Bosch process. However, the impeding activation barrier of strong N≡N and the competing hydrogen evolution reaction constrain the Faradaic efficiency of the electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction. Therefore, the implication of innovative strategies for designing an active electrocatalyst remains a crucial criterion to deliver operational efficiencies during electrochemical reactions. This study proposes a unique fabrication of three-dimensional (3D)-architectured electrodes encompassed with cobalt-rich tungsten carbide (Co-WC) as an electrocatalyst using a 3D-printing technique for the efficient electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction. Here, the cobalt acts as a binder between tungsten carbide particles after sintering, and the particles are bonded to each other. The 3D-printing process generates 3D-architectured Co-WC electrodes with an average particle size of 1–3 µm through precise control of printing parameters. The electrochemical performance of the 3D-architectured Co-WC electrode reveals a better selectivity for N2 reduction under ambient condition. Substantially, the 3D-architectured Co-WC electrodes demonstrate an improved ammonia yield rate of 34.61 μg h−1 cm−2 and Faradaic efciency of 2.12% at an applied potential − 0.6 V (vs. RHE). 3D-printing techniques can be an effective design method for manufacturing 3D-architectured active material with superior performance and selectivity.
Key words: Electrochemical ammonia synthesis · 3D printing · Tungsten carbide · Nitrogen reduction reaction
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