27th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference

Nitrogen Fertilizer Synthesis and Use for Sustainable Agriculture

The recent global events, including the global pandemic and Ukraine’s invasion by Russia, led to unprecedented market volatility and food supply chain disruptions. Furthermore, the Russia-Ukraine conflict also sent fertilizer market indices to unprecedented levels because of disruptions in their production and distribution networks. Increases in nitrogen fertilizer production costs can be attributed, among other things, to the energy cost of atmospheric nitrogen fixation, which is estimated to be from 1% to 2% of global energy consumption. Nitrogen fertilizers are produced from natural gas and air while large amounts of nitrogen-containing anthropogenic waste are already available that can potentially substitute and decrease natural gas use. The quantification of the potentially usable waste amounts available, as well as the methods of extraction of nitrogen from waste and conversion into green fertilizers on a large scale, are lacking systematic description as the current focus was mostly on phosphorus, not nitrogen, sustainability.

Nitrogen, however, is very volatile and presents a set of very different challenges from the sustainability perspective. These include N2O emissions, NO3– escaping into the surrounding water and, in general, very poor sustainability of the agricultural nitrogen cycle. As Galloway noted already in 2002 (https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-31.2.64) the useful yield of nitrogen fertilizers obtained via conventional synthesis is about 4 %, e.g. only 4 atoms out of 100 reach are consumed as intended with the largest share of 47% lost after the application. This presents unprecedented challenges and opportunities for sustainable chemistry and engineering.

The proposed symposium hence will entertain the topics surrounding nitrogen fertilizer sustainable production including waste resource availability and properties, sustainable solid or liquid nitrogen fertilizer product synthesis methods, the routes of nitrogen loss in the environment and emerging methods to minimize that loss.

Symposium Organizers

Prof. Jonas Baltrusaitis, Lehigh University
Clinton Williams, USDA-ARS, US Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center
Prof. Margaret Sobkowicz-Kline, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

© American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.