Molecular nitrogen (N2), an abundant component of the atmosphere, is appealing for industrial value‐added products. However, its intrinsic inertness limits its activation to mainly metallic species. Environmental concerns and harsh reaction conditions have resulted in a demand for alternate nonmetallic and nontoxic routes to activate and functionalize N2 at ambient conditions. Comprehensive density functional theory (DFT) calculations are performed on N2 activation by boron species, specifically for the experimentally more accessible tricoordinated boron compounds.
Molecular nitrogen (N2) is abundant in the atmosphere and nitrogen, found in many biomolecules, is an essential element of life. The Haber–Bosch process, developed over 100 years ago, requires relatively harsh conditions to activate N2 on the iron surface and generate ammonia for use as fertilizer or to produce other chemicals, leading to consumption of more than 2% of the world’s annual energy supply. Thus, developing approaches for N2 activation under mild conditions is particularly important and urgent.