In what may lead to a key discovery for the agricultural sector, a group of research scholars from West Bengal has devised a method to produce urea (chemical fertilizer) at room temperature in a single step using nano-catalyst.
The conventional way of producing urea in industries is a two-fold process. First ammonia is produced through Haber’s Process. Ammonia is treated with carbon dioxide at high temperature and pressure, followed by distillation to produce urea. The process is an energy-extensive process and involves heavy installation.
The group lead by Dr Uttam Kumar Ghorai, head of industrial and applied chemistry, Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, claims to have produced ‘green urea’ using nano-catalyst. The one-step process involves an environment-friendly liquid urea fertilizer at normal pressure and temperature by electro-catalysis method, using nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide gas present in the air.
This practical method has also been theoretically confirmed by a team of collaborating researchers from SRM University with the help of computational facilities and quantum theory.
This electrochemical ammonia synthesis by the nitrogen reduction reaction (NRR) using an economically efficient electrocatalyst can provide a substitute for the Haber–Bosch process.
Their research paper is published in the archives of Cambridge University Press. Moreover, the study has been published in journals by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society.
Dr Ghorai said, “Our research will bring a big change in the fertilizer manufacturing industry and the price of urea fertilizer will come down a lot and will make a significant contribution to the economy of agricultural countries like India.”
Source: Times of India