In the world’s first, scientists at Monash University have developed a new, environment-friendly process that could drive production of green ammonia.
In fact, due to its chemical nature, globally, ammonia is an important commodity for fertilizer production to support increasing food production. Currently, Haber-Bosch process – an established technology is employed to produce ammonia on a commercial scale. The technique involves a reaction between nitrogen and hydrogen from natural gas, wherein a metal catalyzes the process.
From an environmental perspective, the production of one metric ton of ammonia accounts for nearly 1.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and nearly 1.8 percent of carbon emissions globally.
The research published in the notable publication Science uncovers how renewable energy, starting from the refrigerator at the domestic level, can be scaled up to the community level or farm level for the production of ammonia and other fertilizers.
Meanwhile, direct, zero-carbon methods for the synthesis of ammonia are being explored. This includes reaction for electrochemical nitrogen reduction, which can generate ammonia at room temperature and takes the pressure from ambient environmnets.
Importantly, previous works for such attempts have only been able to demonstrate very small amounts of ammonia production. In part, this is because of the need for sacrificial sources of protons,” stated the lead researcher behind the study.
Earlier, in 2019, the annual production of ammonia touched 150 million metric tons globally. By this number, ammonia stood as the second-leading produced chemical material in the world. With the expanding global population, by 2050, the demand for ammonia is estimated to be 350 million metric tons each year. Moreover, the growing interest in ammonia as an energy fuel is an additional factor for its increasing demand.