The growing global population is increasing and so is the demand for foodstuffs. Whilst less acreage is dedicated to crop cultivation, yields must increase. 50% of current global food production relies on the use of Ammonia (NH3) based fertilisers which is important to increasing yields.
Commercial production of NH3 is a large scale industrial process converting natural gas (or other fossil fuels) into gaseous hydrogen, which is catalytically reacted with nitrogen to form anhydrous liquid NH3. Hydrogen can be produced more simply and more sustainably by the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity – thus decoupling NH3 production from fossil fuels, substantially decarbonising the process, and providing a means of utilising waste CO2 in urea production in line with EU climate action objectives.
ITM Power is working on an integrated electrolyser based pilot scale system which will be trialled at a UK farm owned by Waitrose. Support of sustainable agriculture is one way in which the retailer aims to develop a process that could greatly reduce the environmental footprint where fertiliser is used.
Funded by Innovate UK
Self-pressurising 80 bar PEM stack