Hydrogen production from ammonia decomposition using Co/γ-Al2O3 catalysts – Insights into the effect of synthetic method

T. E. Bell, H. Ménard, J. M. González Carballo, R. Tooze, L. Torrente-Murciano (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
305 Downloads (Pure)


Chemical hydrogen storage in molecules such as ammonia (>17 wt% H2) have the unique potential to overcome the current storage and transport limitations of the H2 economy. However, sustainable on-demand production of hydrogen via ammonia decomposition, requires the development of novel transition metal-based catalysts beyond the current use of highly active but expensive ruthenium to ensure economic feasibility. In this paper, we provide fundamental understanding of the effects of a range of synthetic methods of Co/γ-Al2O3 catalysts on the resulting ammonia decomposition activity. The main activity determining factors are collectively the reducibility of the cobalt species and their particle size. This systematic work demonstrates that decreasing the cobalt particle size enhances the ammonia decomposition catalytic activity. However, a careful balance is required between a strong metal-support interaction leading to small particle sizes (promoted by precipitation methods) and the formation of inactive cobalt aluminate species (encouraged by adsorption methods). In addition, impurities such as boron and chloride remaining from particular synthetic methods were found to have detrimental effects on the activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27210-27220
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number51
Early online date7 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020


  • Alumina
  • Ammonia decomposition
  • Cobalt
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Hydrogen
  • Synthesis method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrogen production from ammonia decomposition using Co/γ-Al2O3 catalysts – Insights into the effect of synthetic method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this