Sustainable fertilizer made with ammonia and waste carbon dioxide

Fertilizers whose production is more environmentally friendly have been developed by a group of researchers from the Australian National University (ANU). According to the press release on the website of the same Australian university, it is a fertilizer as well as a cleaner for the environment even more effective than those currently on the market.

The fertilizer is made with ammonia, a known pollutant that can also be taken from watercourses, and from carbon dioxide, which can also be taken from the environment. So the fertilizer production process itself will not only prove useful for growing plants more efficiently but also for reducing pollution.

Through this process, the researchers produce citrulline, a substance that is also found in nature and that is rich in nitrogen, therefore useful for plant growth. This is the first research that considers the use of citrulline as a fertilizer and the results seem “very promising” as reported by Lee Alissandratos, a researcher at the ANU School of Chemistry and one of the authors of the research.

According to the researchers, plants fed with citrulline grew even better than those for which urea, a fairly widespread nitrogenous fertilizer, was used as fertilizer. Currently, urea based fertilizers are produced through expensive and unsustainable methods for the environment also because the process requires a lot of energy and even fossil fuels.

The method to produce citrulline-based fertilizer turns out to be much more sustainable, using enzymes and running in water without toxic by-products. Raw materials, ammonia and carbon dioxide, can be found quite easily in various waste streams, such as domestic sewage or industrial waste.