A rechargeable Al-N2 battery for energy storage and highly efficient N2 fixation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2888-2895
Journal / PublicationEnergy & Environmental Science
Issue number9
Online published28 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


Currently developed metal-gas batteries include various metal-CO2 batteries, but for N2 based batteries, only Li-N2 and Na-N2 batteries were demonstrated. According to Gibbs free energy calculation, Al-N2 electrochemistry system possesses even higher spontaneity, and metallic Al is safe for storage and transportation. However, the Al-N2 system hasn’t been demonstrated so far. Herein, for the first time, a rechargeable Al-N2 battery system was proposed and demonstrated with an ionic liquid electrolyte, graphene-supported Pd (graphene/Pd) catalyst cathode, and low-cost Al anode. The battery realizes both the energy storage and the production of AlN through sucking up N2 feedstock. AlN can be easily further converted to an NH3 product, which is essential in the manufacturing of nitrogenous fertilizers and regarded as an ideal carbon-free energy carrier. In this system, the formation/decomposition of the cathodic AlN product upon cycling are the prerequisite for the rechargeability and cyclability of the battery. Remarkably, the battery system exhibits an excellent capability of N2 fixation with the impressive Faraday efficiency (FE) of 51.2 %, far outperforming those (FE: ~ 5%) in other systems. This work not only initiates the first Al-N2 battery system enabling energy conversion, but also offers a promising alternative of artificial N2 fixation to the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process and the low-FE electrochemical N2 reduction reaction in aqueous electrolyte.

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