Spreading Solid Fertiliser

Fertilisers, especially nitrogen, give some of the biggest environmental impacts of any inputs, from both their manufacture and their application.  A range of innovative approaches are being developed to reduce the energy costs, greenhouse gas emmissions and waste associated with the production of fertilisers.

Decarbonising N Fertiliser manufacture:

  • Green ammonia:
    • Produced by sourcing hydrogen from water using electrolysis, which is then combined with nitrogen derived from air using the Haber-Bosch process.
  • Blue ammonia:
    • Created from fossil fuels, however carbon capture and storage technology is used to prevent emissions from entering the atmosphere.

Recycling of nutrients from waste products

  • CCm technologies are developing fertiliser products from AD waste streams
  • N2 Applied improving N content and utilisation from slurries reducing ammonia emmissions from storage.
  • Organo-Mineral fertilisers containing carbon as well as nutrients
  • Bio-based fertilisers

Novel nitrogen fixation

  • On farm nitrogen fixation using electrolysis – US teams developing system
  • Solar cells used to run small scale on farm  enzymatic bioelectrosynthesis units
  • Also generates a small amount of power too

Bacterial N Fixation

  • Biofilms that complete Haber Bosch in the soil
  • Nitrogen fixing bacteria from sugarcane
  • Utrisha™ N and BlueN™ from Corteva
  • Azotic



Related Organisations

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Useful report from International Fertiliser Association (IFA) via LinkedIn and Systemiq



Connected Content

Nitrogen is required annually by most crops (except pulses) to achieve yield and quality. Judging how much N to apply is a key part of nutrient management.

ADAS are planning a Nutrition Challenge to compare the effect of different nutrition programmes on winter feed wheat yield, N uptake and gross margin, in the 2022/23 season. This is particularly timely following the recent dramatic rise in nitrogen fertiliser prices, which has forced the industry to re-examine nutrition strategies. Objectives of the project are to showcase good nutrition products and practices so that farmers are equipped and encouraged to use fertiliser better, for the benefit of the environment and their own gross margins.

N2 Applied has developed a technology that enables local production of fertiliser using only livestock slurry, air and electricity, – dramatically reducing harmful emissions and improving yield at the same time. The technology adds nitrogen from the air into slurry, which increases the nitrogen content. The reaction prevents the loss of ammonia and eliminates methane emissions, making it a real solution helping to achieve climate target commitments on an industrial scale.

A range of products are commercially available that claim to enable more efficient nutrient uptake, allowing less nutrient to be applied as fertiliser.

Share your ideas and experience of how to improve nutrient efficiency and reduce dependence on artificial fertilisers

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Many projects across the world are looking to radically reduce the GHG costs of producing ammonia by using renewable electricity for hydrolysis, rather than the energy & natural gas intensive Haber-Bosch process.  This could reduce the GHG costs of N fertiliser, but the real drivers come from using ammonia in the energy chain.

A forum for technical information about all aspects of fertilisers and crop nutrition.

Annual conference of International Society Fertiliser at Robinson College, Cambridge, on 7-9 December 2022

Evoponic has unique research-based technology for greenhouse and vertical farming growers using hydroponic systems. Our nutrients and biostimulants have been under continuous development since 2006, we currently sponsor two PhD researchers and are involved in several Innovate UK funded projects. 

Recording from session at Groundswell 2022 with summary below from Agricology

Scientific paper setting out how GHG emissions from agriculture could be reduced through more efficient production and use of N fertiliser. Gao, Y., Cabrera Serrenho, A. (2023) Greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen fertilizers could be reduced by up to one-fifth of current levels by 2050 with combined interventions. Nature Food. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-023-00698-w  

Seaweed’s and macroalgae’s agricultural use could have a role in circularity, particularly in coa

Projects and companies are looking hard at recovering nutrients from bio-wastes and by-products to produce organo-mineral fertilisers

Mineral fertilisers combined with materials containing organic carbon and nutrients.

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