2020 01 Ingels The Future of Urea Based Fertilizer

A large part of our world’s food supply is dependent on nitrogen fertilizer from the Haber Bosch process.  In 2050 we need to feed 9 billion people and subsequently have to increase agricultural production by 20% on the same acreage of farmland. This will be a major challenge, considering the predicted negative effects from climate change.

Over the years, the Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE; 30%-60%) has been dropping due to changes in diet and the use of abundant low-cost fossil-based Nitrogen. The loss of Nitrogen in the form of ammonia from farming and the food chain is representing the main contribution to bad air quality and low NUE. It causes direct and indirect acidification, eutrophication and formation of N2O. All the lost Nitrogen is eventually ending up in the atmosphere or the ground water as nitrates. And the fertilizer industry replenishes the loss with 120 million tonnes of fossil Haber Bosch Nitrogen….

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