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Single-Atoms Stabilized in Poly(Heptazine Imides): Photocatalytic Production and Detection of Ammonia

Grant number: 23/10973-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2023
Effective date (End): September 30, 2024
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Inorganic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Ivo Freitas Teixeira
Grantee:Hamilton Altamir da Silva Junior
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/14741-6 - Graphitic carbon nitrides as platforms for single-atom photocatalysis: moving towards design principles for improved performance, AP.JP


Currently, the global production of ammonia (NH3) is dominated by the Haber-Bosch process, which is energy-intensive and causes a significant environmental impact due to the high CO2 emissions associated with this process. In this context, there is an urgent need to develop and apply more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly methodologies. In this project, the objective is to produce NH3 employing a promising alternative: the photocatalytic reduction of N2. For this, photocatalysts active in the solar spectrum will be used, i.e. carbon nitrides stabilized with single-atoms of transition metals, along with water as a proton donor source under milder and more sustainable conditions. In addition to production, the accurate detection of NH3 produced in the process is also a relevant challenge. To achieve this goal, we will carry out an adaptation study of the Salicylate colorimetric method, an approach known for its safety and for avoiding the use of toxic reagents. Ammonia analysis will be performed using UV-Vis spectrophotometry, ensuring reliable and accurate results.The sustainable production and detection of NH3 are of extreme importance for the chemical industry, especially due to the wide use of this compound in the production of fertilizers and in several industrial processes. Implementing low-cost production methods and avoiding the use of grey hydrogen can significantly contribute to reducing the environmental impact and promoting sustainability in NH3 production. The success of this project could pave the way for a more sustainable chemical industry, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, with the potential to transform the way ammonia is produced and used globally, towards more sustainable practices.

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