Sustainable and High-Rate Electrosynthesis of Nitrogen Fertilizer

Publication Name

Angewandte Chemie - International Edition


The conventional industrial production of nitrogen-containing fertilizers, such as urea and ammonia, relies heavily on energy-intensive processes, accounting for approximately 3 % of global annual CO2 emissions. Herein, we report a sustainable electrocatalytic approach that realizes direct and selective synthesis of urea and ammonia from co-reduction of CO2 and nitrates under ambient conditions. With the assistance of a copper (Cu)-based salphen organic catalyst, outstanding urea (3.64 mg h−1 mgcat−1) and ammonia (9.73 mg h−1 mgcat−1) yield rates are achieved, in addition to a remarkable Faradaic efficiency of 57.9±3 % for the former. This work proposes an appealing sustainable route to converting greenhouse gas and waste nitrates by renewable energies into value-added fertilizers.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee



Link to publisher version (DOI)