The group around Hideo HOSONO at Tokyo Institute of Technology has succeeded to further optimize a catalyst which permits to produce ammonia from molecular nitrogen and hydrogen at relatively mild conditions (400 C, 0.1 MPa = 1 bar). The best catalyst found so far is an intermetallic “electride” compound compoised of lanthanum, cobalt and silicium which at a high surface of 1,8 m2/g activates N2 to form an NH intermediate. This technology is commercially developed at Tsubame BHB,, a company focused on developing technology for the distributed production of ammonia in local and small plants. Partners of Tsubame BHB are Ajinomoto and UMI Co., a venture company focused on chemical engineering.

JST news release, January 23, 2018