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Review

Comparing Molecular Mechanisms in Solar NH3 Production and Relations with CO2 Reduction

Departments ChiBioFarAm and MIFT, University of Messina, ERIC aisbl, INSTM/CASPE, V. le F. Stagno D’Alcontres 31, 98166 Messina, Italy
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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010139
Received: 6 December 2020 / Revised: 20 December 2020 / Accepted: 22 December 2020 / Published: 25 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics)
Molecular mechanisms for N2 fixation (solar NH3) and CO2 conversion to C2+ products in enzymatic conversion (nitrogenase), electrocatalysis, metal complexes and plasma catalysis are analyzed and compared. It is evidenced that differently from what is present in thermal and plasma catalysis, the electrocatalytic path requires not only the direct coordination and hydrogenation of undissociated N2 molecules, but it is necessary to realize features present in the nitrogenase mechanism. There is the need for (i) a multi-electron and -proton simultaneous transfer, not as sequential steps, (ii) forming bridging metal hydride species, (iii) generating intermediates stabilized by bridging multiple metal atoms and (iv) the capability of the same sites to be effective both in N2 fixation and in COx reduction to C2+ products. Only iron oxide/hydroxide stabilized at defective sites of nanocarbons was found to have these features. This comparison of the molecular mechanisms in solar NH3 production and CO2 reduction is proposed to be a source of inspiration to develop the next generation electrocatalysts to address the challenging transition to future sustainable energy and chemistry beyond fossil fuels. View Full-Text
Keywords: molecular mechanisms; N2 fixation; NRR; CO2-to-C2+; CO2RR; electrocatalysis; bioinspired molecular mechanisms; N2 fixation; NRR; CO2-to-C2+; CO2RR; electrocatalysis; bioinspired
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mallamace, D.; Papanikolaou, G.; Perathoner, S.; Centi, G.; Lanzafame, P. Comparing Molecular Mechanisms in Solar NH3 Production and Relations with CO2 Reduction. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010139

AMA Style

Mallamace D, Papanikolaou G, Perathoner S, Centi G, Lanzafame P. Comparing Molecular Mechanisms in Solar NH3 Production and Relations with CO2 Reduction. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(1):139. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010139

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mallamace, Domenico, Georgia Papanikolaou, Siglinda Perathoner, Gabriele Centi, and Paola Lanzafame. 2021. "Comparing Molecular Mechanisms in Solar NH3 Production and Relations with CO2 Reduction" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 1: 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22010139

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