Minimizing energy demand and environmental impact for sustainable NH3 and H2O2 production—A perspective on contributions from thermal, electro-, and photo-catalysis

Justin S.J. Hargreaves*, Young Min Chung, Wha Seung Ahn, Takashi Hisatomi, Kazunari Domen, Mayfair C. Kung, Harold H. Kung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There is an urgent need to provide adequate and sustainable supplies of water and food to satisfy the demand of an increasing population. Catalysis plays important roles in meeting these needs by facilitating the synthesis of hydrogen peroxide that is used in water decontamination and chemicals production, and ammonia that is used as fertilizer. However, these chemicals are currently produced with processes that are either very energy-intensive or environmentally unfriendly. This article offers the perspectives of the challenges and opportunities in the production of these chemicals, focusing on the roles of catalysis in more sustainable, alternative production methods that minimize energy consumption and environmental impact. While not intended to be a comprehensive review, the article provides a critical review of selected literature relevant to its objectives, discusses areas needed for further research, and potential new directions inspired by new developments in related fields. For each chemical, production by thermal, electro-, and photo-excited processes are discussed. Problems that are common to these approaches and their differences are identified and possible solutions suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117419
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
StatePublished - Mar 25 2020


  • Ammonia synthesis
  • Catalyst selectivity
  • Catalyst stability
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Hydrogen peroxide synthesis
  • Photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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