Roland Pease asks whether, after a hundred years of the old industrial process, there’s a better way of making nitrogen fertilisers.
Nitrogen is one of the most important elements for life, and we’re virtually swimming in it – the atmosphere is four fifths nitrogen gas.
And yet nitrogen is one of the hardest elements for life to capture – it’s a molecule that’s almost completely inert.
Can chemists copy nature’s tricks to ensnare this elusive molecule, using gentle reactions and without harming the environment in the process?
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