Ammonia-based fertilizers are vital for modern industrial farming. However, their production and application have several deleterious impacts on the environment and human health. Producing ammonia (through the Haber-Bosch process) consumes 1–2% of global annual energy production and is responsible for 1.4% of global CO2 emissions. Once applied as fertilizer, ammonia is converted into nitrates (via nitrification) that gradually leach from the soil into rainwater runoff and accelerate destructive algal blooms.
To combat these challenges, several promising technologies have emerged that are directed at treating nitrate wastewater or converting nitrate to ammonia. Combining these technologies would afford a system that removes nitrate and generates a useful ammonia product. Beyond the benefits of simultaneously generating a product while diverting a waste stream, this conceptual approach features the advantage of regenerating ammonia fertilizers onsite, thereby eliminating the costs and emissions associated with material transportation. Despite the significant promise and breakthroughs in individual technologies, it remains unclear whether their combination would accomplish the shared goal of minimizing...
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