Concluding remarks: Sustainable nitrogen activation - are we there yet?

Douglas R. MacFarlane, Alexandr N. Simonov, Thi Mung Vu, Sam Johnston, Luis Azofra Mesa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The activation of dinitrogen as a fundamental step in reactions to produce nitrogen compounds, including ammonia and nitrates, has a cornerstone role in chemistry. Bringing together research from disparate fields where this can be achieved sustainably, this Faraday Discussion seeks to build connections between approaches that can stimulate further advances. In this paper we set out to provide an overview of these different approaches and their commonalities. We explore experimental aspects including the positive role of increasing nitrogen pressure in some fields, as well as offering perspectives on when 15N2 experiments might, and might not, be necessary. Deconstructing the nitrogen reduction reaction, we attempt to provide a common framework of energetic scales within which all of the different approaches and their components can be understood. On sustainability, we argue that although green ammonia produced from a green-H2-fed Haber–Bosch process seems to fit the bill, there remain many real-world contexts in which other, sustainable, approaches to this vital reaction are urgently needed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFaraday Discussions
StatePublished - May 8 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-07-04
Acknowledgements: L. M. A. is a Ramón y Cajal fellow (ref. RYC2021-030994-I) and thanks MCIN/AEI and NextGenerationEU/PRTR for support and the KAUST Supercomputer Laboratory (KSL) for providing the computational resources (Shaheen II). D. R. M. and A. N. S. are grateful for funding from the Australian Research Council through Discovery Project DP200101491 and A. N. S. for funding through DP200101878 and Future Fellowship FT200100317.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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