Using fertiliser is important for securing food production. However, there are also major challenges. Producing it can be very stressful on the environment. Using it incorrectly can also lead to environmental damage. So, there is a lot of pressure to improve things.
The EU recently looked at different ways to improve the production and use of fertilisers. There are some major points worth exploring here.
The major one is to decarbonise the production. Currently almost all producers use natural gas to make fertilisers. What they do is combine it with air and heat it. This creates a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen, resulting in ammonia. In turn, they use that to create nitric acid. Finally, it is mixed to create ammonium nitrate fertiliser.
Sadly the process utilises a lot of natural gas. It is a vital ingredient to make the fertilisers. Plus, producers also burn a lot of it to provide the energy for production. So, the whole process can release a massive amount of carbon and other emissions into the atmosphere.
The EU is looking to get producers to switch to renewable hydrogen as a low carbon alternative. In fact, they are budgeting €4 billion to fund the supply chain to produce more sustainable hydrogen. This would save the massive amount of emissions burning natural gas produces.
In addition, they are looking at other things that could decarbonise the use of fertilisers. For example, nitrification inhibitors can very useful. What they do is slow the conversion of ammonium nitrate into nitrous oxide. This means fewer losses and lower emissions. It could help to enhance the soil too.
Country by country
While the EU acknowledges decarbonising fertiliser production is vital, they also appreciate the barriers. For one thing, every country is different. For example, some don’t have easy access to renewable energy sources. Plus, some have stricter climate regulations. So, they can’t just introduce blanket measures. Instead, they have to consider the realities and needs of each country.
What they want to do to help address the issue is agree a streamlined and harmonious framework to regulate production. It would ensure there are no issues due to patchwork laws. It would also create a level playing field, ensuring countries with lower environmental standard don’t have an advantage.
Do you want to order fertiliser?
JS Hubbuck Ltd is a family business with decades of experience. Our goal is to give every client easy access to quality products and reliable delivery services. We also offer our extensive knowledge on everything from how to store different agricultural goods to using them efficiently.
So, if you need to use fertiliser and want some help, speak to us. We’d be happy to help you do it more sustainably.