Iron-catalyzed transformation of molecular dinitrogen under ambient conditions An advance towards a next-generation nitrogen fixation system

December 26, 2012

Me3SiCl and Fe(CO)5 were added to a suspension of sodium in THF under a dinitrogen atmosphere. cYoshiaki Nishibayashi The mixture was stirred at room temperature for 20 hours under a gentle stream of dinitrogen. After the reaction, ammonia was produced catalytically. Both ferrocene and pentacarbonyliron worked as effective catalysts of nitrogen fixation.

Associate Professor Yoshiaki Nishibayashi’s research group at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering, Institute of Engineering Innovation, and Professor Kazunari Yoshizawa at Kyushu University, have successfully demonstrated the iron-catalyzed transformation of molecular dinitrogen into ammonia equivalent, silylamine, under ambient conditions. In this reaction system, simple and cheap iron complexes worked as effective catalysts. It is believed that the result described here provides a real advance toward the goal of achieving a novel nitrogen fixation system under mild reaction conditions.

Ammonia is one of the most important compounds maintaining human life and modern society. Since the discovery of the Haber-Bosch industrial process for creating ammonia, the same basic method has been used in ammonia synthesis for the last one hundred years. The result described here provides a real advance on the development of novel nitrogen fixation system, and is a concrete step towards the development of a novel process and reducing the cost and environmental impact of ammonia production.

Press release


Masahiro Yuki, Hiromasa Tanaka, Kouitsu Sasaki, Yoshihiro Miyake, Kazunari Yoshizawa, Yoshiaki Nishibayashi,
“Iron-Catalyzed Transformation of Molecular Dinitrogen into Silylamine under Ambient Conditions”,
Nature Communications Online Edition: 2012/12/5 (Japan time), doi: 10.1038/ncomms2264.

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Graduate School of Engineering

Institute of Engineering Innovation

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