How the fourth state of matter can make a greenhouse greener — and boost plant growth
“Many fertilizers contain ammonia, which is produced from nitrogen (necessary for plant growth) and hydrogen using a chemical reaction called the Haber-Bosch process. This process revolutionized agriculture in the early 20th century by making mass production of fertilizer possible. However, the process yields hundreds of millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
‘Ideally, we want a fertilizer that’s renewable,’ Reuter says. And to make it truly green, it should be created at the farm, making transport, another carbon emitter, unnecessary. Reuter and a growing number of chemists, physicists and engineers think they can see how to make that happen. These researchers are working toward future farms that are truly sustainable, where the energy from renewable sources like wind or solar is harnessed to make an efficient fertilizer on-site. They hope to realize this vision by exploiting plasma.”