Most discussions to do with climate change focus on the emissions from the fossil fuels in transportation. Yet there are many other sources of CO2 emissions, including those from the chemicals industry. For example, the Haber-Bosch (H-B) process, which is used to “fix” atmospheric nitrogen to make ammonia, generates a significant percentage of the world’s CO2. The ammonia is then made into a wide range of chemical products, of which nitrate fertilizers are the most important. Without these fertilizers the world’s population would be much smaller than it is now.
Unfortunately the H-B process (which includes the steam reformation of methane) is a major source of CO2. If we are to control climate change and not have a population crash, it will be necessary to develop a different type of process for “fixing” nitrogen in the air and for making “green” ammonia.
This post starts with a very brief overview of the Haber-Bosch process. We then look at “greener” alternatives by describing different “colors” of ammonia.