While having trouble falling asleep the other night I ended up binge reading on the Haber-Bosch process for making ammonium nitrate from atmospheric nitrogen and methane(from natural gas). It’s a pretty crazy topic. Some things I learned
- Around 50% of the nitrogen in the average human body has been through the Haber-Bosch process.
- The process was developed in 1909 by german chemist Fritz Haber, and was scaled up to industrial methods in 1910 by Carl Bosch.
- Over 500 million tons of ammonium nitrate are produced annually as of 2017. About 80% of this is used in fertilizer, and around 20% in explosives for engineering, mining, and weapons.
- Fertilizer production accounts for about 2% of the global energy usage.
Here’s a great pdf synopsis of Jan Erison & James Galloway’s research on the topic, I managed to grab for free somewhere. (it was behind a journal paywall!)