Out of Thin Air: Making Fertilizer with Sunlight

Aug 18, 2016

The complicated process of using sunlight to convert Nitrogen (N2) into Ammonia (NH3) using nanorods.
Credit Al Hicks / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A new scientific discovery may change the way we make fertilizer. A team of researchers have found a new way to produce Ammonia (NH3) from atmospheric Nitrogen (N2) using sunlight instead of fossil fuels. The discovery may have profound effects on the sustainability of food production.




The old way of fixing Nitrogen (left) and the new way (right).
Credit Mary-Ann Muffoletto / Utah State University


The study was published in the academic journal Science. It is available (behind a paywall) here: Light-driven dinitrogen reduction catalyzed by a CdS:nitrogenaseMoFe protein biohybrid



Songs featured in this story:

The Obvious Child by Paul Simon

True Affection by The Blow