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Out of Thin Air: Making Fertilizer with Sunlight

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.




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


Listen to the full interview with Dr. Lance Seefeldt here.

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