Where them Haber fanboys?

A new age for synthetic fertilisers? In this article we'll take a look at the paper "Selective electrocatalytic synthesis of urea with nitrate and carbon dioxide", which delves into a novel sustainable pathway for urea production.

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Urea, the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, is conventionally produced by combining CO2 with NH3. This NH3 classically comes from the Haber-Bosch process, a giant in the age of industrial Earth.

Frequently underestimated, often misunderstood, synthetic fertilisers have a problem: they love energy. In fact, practices like Haber-Bosch love energy so much that 2% of annual global energy is approximately consumed by urea synthesis processes.

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This paper wants to put a stop to this. Through detailed experimentation, Lv et al. have created a more sustainable route for urea  production.  This involves reacting C02 with N03- (NH3's sexy cousin) through electrocatalytic coupling on an indium hydroxide  (In(OH)3) catalyst. The best part? It's done at room temperature. Will the days of 400-500°C and 100–200bar soon be behind us?

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