Science 2 min read

Breakthrough: Room-Temp Ammonia Converter Developed

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vchal /

A team of scientists from the Tokyo Metropolitan University reportedly developed a new catalyst made of gold nanoparticles which work even in room temperature.

According to the researchers, the newly engineered catalyst can break down ammonia impurities in the air and convert it to nitrogen gas.

Ammonia is one of the most common industrial chemicals used as an ingredient in many farming, household, and medical products. It is heavily used as a feedstock for fertilizers and as a disinfectant.

However, despite its many usages, ammonia is highly toxic when concentrated. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration declared a strict limit of 50 parts per million in breathing air for ammonia. The restriction is part of an international effort to eliminate unwanted ammonia from the environment.

Catalyst Made of Gold Nanoparticles

The most commonly used material to keep the atmosphere free of excess ammonia is a catalyst. These catalysts are present in the converters of most modern vehicles. Unlike the standard filter that only traps hazardous substances in the air, a catalyst filter not only traps but breaks down ammonia and converts it into harmless products like water and nitrogen gas.

The only problem with the current ammonia-breaking catalysts is that they only work at temperatures of more than 200 degrees Celsius. Because of this, catalysts are not useful in homes and other environments which usually have temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius.

But, the Japanese researchers’ new catalyst can solve this problem. When put into a framework of niobium oxide, the filter is highly selective in converting ammonia, ensuring it only turns into harmless byproducts.

According to the team, the gold nanoparticles play a significant role in the process by increasing the loading boosts the productivity of the catalyst. The team’s study was published in the journal ACS Catalysis.

Read More: Researchers Develop New Catalyst To Boost Hydrogen Production

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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    Shannon Harrington April 03 at 11:25 am GMT

    Lots of useful information here.

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