Location University of Newcastle, Faculty of Science and Information Technology
App. deadline 19/01/2019
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Australian and New Zealand residents

Electrochemical nitrogen reduction on nanomaterials for ammonia production

Electrochemical nitrogen reduction represents a promising technique for sustainable utilization of renewable energy like wind and solar energy, providing an alternative way to the climate and energy issues in Australia. The overarching objectives of this project are to design and synthesize porous metal phosphonates, which feature outstanding activity, high selectivity, robust stability and low cost towards electrocatalyzing nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR). The intractable low selectivity/efficiency of nitrogen electrocatalysis will be overcome through adjusting the organic/inorganic units, porosity and nanostructures of functional metal phosphonates to realize impressive performance. The successful completion of this project is suggested to advance ammonia synthesis technologies and benefit the clean energy/manufacturing industry of Australia. Specific aims are: (1) Molecular engineering of metal phosphonates via employing suitable metallic components for preferably binding nitrogen and organophosphonic linkers with specific functional groups (i.e., P‒OH, ‒SO3H and ‒COOH) for high proton conductivity, thus enhancing the efficiency and selectivity of NRR; (2) Adjusting the porosity and structures of metal phosphonates using template-free or template-assisted methods to increase the amount of electroactive sites and provide multiple channels for electron and mass transport, consequently realizing the high-activity NRR; (3) Understanding the nature and origin of the electrocatalytic NRR process and investigating the relationship of chemical compositions and structures towards nitrogen reduction; (4) Illustrating the operating protocols of metal phosphonates to further guide the adjustment of their functionality, porosity and structures, thereby achieving high conversion efficiency and robust stability and setting up design and working principles for this promising NRR hybrid electrocatalyst.

Scholarship Value: $27,082 p.a. (2018 rate) indexed annually. The living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for 4 years, with up to $1,500 relocation allowance.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Dr Tianyi Ma