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NWO Open Competition Domain Science-M Grant to develop NMR methods for studying electrochemical ammonia synthesis

Date of news: 9 January 2023

Evan ZhaoEvan Zhao, researcher in Magnetic Resonance Research Center within the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) at Radboud University has been awarded an NWO Open Competition Domain Science-M Grant. This is a funding instrument of the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) aimed at research questions in or overlapping the fields of earth sciences, astronomy, chemistry, computer science, life sciences, physics and mathematics. Zhao will develop NMR methods for studying electrochemical ammonia synthesis. "With the support of the M grant, we will develop a new research tool to look into the reaction mechanisms of electrochemical ammonia synthesis", Zhao says.

Electrochemical ammonia synthesis

Ammonia is one of the most widely produced commodity chemicals, supplying 50% nitrogen to our human bodies. Haber-Bosch process is the industrial standard for producing ammonia, unfortunately, with heavy carbon footprint. Electrochemical synthesis, in contrast, affords a green approach. Nevertheless, the efficiency is too low to be practical. Fundamental insight at the molecular level is required to improve the efficiency. This proposal seeks to develop an integrated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) probe and electrochemical reactor system, dubbed “NMR-eReactor”, for gaining such insights and answering questions that are impossible to address by conventional techniques.

Magnetic Resonance Research Center

Evan Wenbo Zhao is an Assistant Professor in the Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC). The MRRC is a research facility and is part of the IMM. The facility focuses on the development of novel methods to optimize the sensitivity and information content of NMR spectra and apply these methodologies to gain deeper insight in the structure and dynamics of molecules and materials. Applications are particularly geared at understanding various energy and polymer materials, electrochemical devices, unravelling complex mixtures in the liquid state.

NWO Open Competition Domain Science-M

NWO Open Competition Domain Science-M (ENW-M) grants are intended for curiosity-driven scientific research of high quality. The ENW-M grant offers researchers the opportunity to elaborate original, innovative, risky ideas and to realise scientific innovations that can form the basis for the research themes of the future.

We warmly congratulate Evan with his grant!

More information
NWO press release: Twenty-one innovative research projects launched through Open Competition Domain Science-M programme | NWO
For more information, please contact
Evan Zhao, evanwenbo.zhao@ru.nl
IMM Communications: imm-communication@ru.nl