Ammonia is considered as one of the most important industry feedstocks for human beings, which contributes to around 50% of global food production with ammonia-derived fertilizers. However, conventional ammonia production still relies on the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process, which accounts for around 1% of the global energy consumption and over 1% of greenhouse gas emissions. In this regard, exploring sustainable ammonia synthesis technology is of great importance. This project aims at developing an efficient and stable earth-abundant photocathode (i.e. Cu2ZnSnS4) with robust NiFe cocatalyst for photoelectrochemical (PEC) ammonia synthesis from waste nitrate. Driven by renewable solar energy with a well-designed PEC device (see attached schematic figure of PEC ammonia production from waste nitrate), the direct solar to ammonia conversion will be realized.

We are seeking a curious and enthusiastic TOR student to join the team to work under the supervision of experienced researchers and contribute to the development of novel PEC system for solar ammonia production.


Chemical Engineering

Research Area

Ammonia Synthesis | Photoelectrochemistry | Solar Energy Conversion

The student will have the opportunity to work in Particles and Catalysis Research Group (PartCat) and the ARC Global Hydrogen Economy Training Centre (GlobH2E) with well-equipped laboratories and experimental facilities for photoelectrocatalysis research under the guidance of Scientia Professor Rose Amal.

The student will work in a multidisciplinary research environment with opportunity to learn various functional skills (i.e., professional development, outreach work, and mentoring) to facilitate future career in academic or industry.

The student is expected to gain experience in photoelectrocatalysis, material characterizations and solar-to-ammonia reactor design. This is an extended project based on preliminary results and the generated knowledge and data will result in a publication. The project will also allow the student to work with other research students to gain valuable interdisciplinary experience. Continuing of the research as an 4th year honour thesis project is possible.

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1. Zhou, S., Sun, K., Toe, C. Y., Yin, J., Huang, J., Zeng, Y., ... & Amal, R. (2022). Engineering a Kesterite‐Based Photocathode for Photoelectrochemical Ammonia Synthesis from NOx Reduction. Advanced Materials, 34(29), 2201670.

2. Song, Y., Wu, Y., Cao, S., Zhang, Y., Luo, D., Gao, J., ... & Hou, J. (2022). Simultaneous Photoelectrocatalytic Oxidation and Nitrite‐Ammonia Conversion with Artificial Photoelectrochemistry Cells. Advanced Energy Materials, 12(48), 2201782.

3. Kani, N. C., Gauthier, J. A., Prajapati, A., Edgington, J., Bordawekar, I., Shields, W., ... & Singh, M. R. (2021). Solar-driven electrochemical synthesis of ammonia using nitrate with 11% solar-to-fuel efficiency at ambient conditions. Energy & Environmental Science, 14(12), 6349-6359.