Liquefied Sunshine: Transforming Renewables into Fertilizers and Energy Carriers with Electromaterials

Douglas R. MacFarlane, Jaecheol Choi, Bryan H.R. Suryanto, Rouhollah Jalili, Manjunath Chatti, Luis Miguel Azofra, Alexandr N. Simonov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


It has become apparent that renewable energy sources are plentiful in many, often remote, parts of the world, such that storing and transporting that energy has become the key challenge. For long-distance transportation by pipeline and bulk tanker, a liquid form of energy carrier is ideal, focusing attention on liquid hydrogen and ammonia. Development of high-activity and selectivity electrocatalyst materials to produce these energy carriers by reductive electrochemistry has therefore become an important area of research. Here, recent developments and challenges in the field of electrocatalytic materials for these processes are discussed, including the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), and the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR). Some of the mis-steps currently plaguing the nitrogen reduction to ammonia field are highlighted. The rapidly growing roles that in situ/operando and quantum chemical studies can play in new electromaterials discovery are also surveyed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1904804
Number of pages13
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020


  • ammonia
  • carbon dioxide reduction
  • energy conversion
  • nitrogen fixation
  • water splitting

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