Close Welcome writers, influencers and dreamers, make the world a greener place
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password
or
or

Close
Close Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
Close Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
Close Reset password
your profile is 33% complete:
33%
Update profile Close
Close WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-Change

For writers, influencers and dreamers who want to make the world a greener place.

WhatsOrb reaches monthly about 28.000 thousand visitors who want - like you - to make the world a greener place. Share your expertise and all can benefit.

Become an influencer and write and share sustainable news and innovations globally
Are you a writer or do you have ideas about sustainability which you want to share? Register and share your green knowledge and news. WhatsOrb offers you global exposure for your article.

If your article meets certain standards, you receive promotional gains like Facebook promotions and Google Ads advertising.

Agri & Gardening no co2 thanks to the diesel engine | Upload General

No CO2 Thanks To The Diesel Engine

by: Sharai Hoekema
no co2 thanks to the diesel engine | Upload

Wait. What? As with so many sustainability-related matters, this sounds like a true juxtaposition. How could a diesel engine, a notorious polluter, be responsible for any reduction in CO2 emissions? Well, you have got to thank some researchers from the KU Leuven and the University of Antwerp for this seemingly weird hypothesis. 

No CO2: Fertilizer

The Belgian scientists were looking at one of the most polluting processes on earth: the production of ammonia, a key ingredient for - amongst others - fertilizer. This bad boy is responsible for some two percent of our global CO2 emissions. As we will continue to use fertilizer, potentially even more so in the future, as we need to feed more mouths while dealing with worsening soil conditions, they wanted to see if they could figure out a way of producing ammonia without the harmful CO2 emissions. 

Creating Greener Ammonia

Guess what they found? Using a technique first pioneered in diesel-powered cars, they can now do so. As an additional bonus, the system they propose can easily be implemented on a small-scale, so that farmers can start producing their own fertilizer with nothing more than a couple of solar panels and this installation, modeled after the diesel engine.

blue granules, brown bag, CO2
Hero Agri fertilizers.

To understand how this installation works, it is time for a quick chems lesson. To produce ammonia for fertilizer, quite a bit of hydrogen is required - which is made using natural gas. On top of that, the splitting of a nitrogen molecule requires a lot of heat - once again, generated using fossil fuels. 

Plasma Reactor To The Rescue

The installation proposed by these scientists goes about the splitting of this nitrogen molecule differently. Instead of using high pressure and a high temperature, they do so in a plasma reactor. Granted, plasma production also requires a lot of energy, but this can easily be generated in a renewable fashion. Think wind of solar.

When the plasma is properly used, it serves to split nitrogen molecules from the air. As a part of this process, the molecule responds by creating oxygen. And ta-dah, NOx is born. One of the key components of ammonia. So far, pretty nifty, but how does this relate to the diesel engine?

Recommended: Algae-Based Bioreactor: It Loves Swallowing CO2

Hang on; I am getting there. The second part of this process is the one that has been borrowed from the automotive industry. To somewhat reduce the harmful effect of exhaust fumes, a filter is installed in the exhaust of (diesel-powered) cars. This piece actively converts the polluting NOx to nitrogen. As professor Johan Martens, one of the lead scientists, explains: “By slightly adjusting the filter, it starts to produce ammonia instead of nitrogen. When using it in the car, this would be an unwanted side-effect of a malfunctioning filter. However, for our purposes, it is perfect.”

In short? This filter ensures that the NOx produced in the plasma reactor will work together with hydrogen to produce ammonia.

Hydrogen Must Become Greener

You got me here. By mentioning the ‘h’ word, it shows that there is a flaw. The process still uses hydrogen, which can - for now - only be produced using natural gas. To make this fertilizer-production process fully sustainable, the hydrogen will also have to be produced in a green fashion. 

Recommended: Breaking News! Hydrogen Cheaply Produced By Solar In Belgium

While all technologies for creating green hydrogen are still in their infant stage, the researchers are not worried about it. They claim their invention is mostly for small-scale use, meaning that only tiny amounts of hydrogen are needed. At the same time, the KU Leuven University is working on creating hydrogen using water from the air and solar energy, proving that it can be done.

Hydrogen, platform, sea, waves
Photo by Tractebel

Greener Fertiliser Production

The small scale is what makes this project so interesting. It could allow small farming businesses to produce their own fertilizer, which will be advantageous to both farmers and society. “As a farm, you can generate enough green energy to make this work,” scientists claim - while also pointing at the opportunities for such a technology in developing nations. It is hard to get access to fertilizer in those regions, as it will have to be shipped and travel great distances. Only one of those installations in a community could, therefore, already prove to be a game-changer. 

Before you go!

Recommended: Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture, And Food

Do you like this article about agrivoltaics, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.

Like to write and publish your article about growing food or solar energy?
Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected], and we will write an interesting article based on your input.

Messange
You
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations
SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY TIPS & TRICKS
More like this:

No CO2 Thanks To The Diesel Engine

Wait. What? As with so many sustainability-related matters, this sounds like a true juxtaposition. How could a diesel engine, a notorious polluter, be responsible for any reduction in CO2 emissions? Well, you have got to thank some researchers from the KU Leuven and the University of Antwerp for this seemingly weird hypothesis.   No CO2: Fertilizer The Belgian scientists were looking at one of the most polluting processes on earth: the production of ammonia, a key ingredient for - amongst others - fertilizer. This bad boy is responsible for some two percent of our global CO2 emissions. As we will continue to use fertilizer, potentially even more so in the future, as we need to feed more mouths while dealing with worsening soil conditions, they wanted to see if they could figure out a way of producing ammonia without the harmful CO2 emissions.   Creating Greener Ammonia Guess what they found? Using a technique first pioneered in diesel-powered cars, they can now do so. As an additional bonus, the system they propose can easily be implemented on a small-scale, so that farmers can start producing their own fertilizer with nothing more than a couple of solar panels and this installation, modeled after the diesel engine. Hero Agri fertilizers. To understand how this installation works, it is time for a quick chems lesson. To produce ammonia for fertilizer, quite a bit of hydrogen is required - which is made using natural gas. On top of that, the splitting of a nitrogen molecule requires a lot of heat - once again, generated using fossil fuels.   Plasma Reactor To The Rescue The installation proposed by these scientists goes about the splitting of this nitrogen molecule differently. Instead of using high pressure and a high temperature, they do so in a plasma reactor. Granted, plasma production also requires a lot of energy, but this can easily be generated in a renewable fashion. Think wind of solar. When the plasma is properly used, it serves to split nitrogen molecules from the air. As a part of this process, the molecule responds by creating oxygen. And ta-dah, NOx is born. One of the key components of ammonia. So far, pretty nifty, but how does this relate to the diesel engine? Recommended:  Algae-Based Bioreactor: It Loves Swallowing CO2 Hang on; I am getting there. The second part of this process is the one that has been borrowed from the automotive industry. To somewhat reduce the harmful effect of exhaust fumes, a filter is installed in the exhaust of (diesel-powered) cars. This piece actively converts the polluting NOx to nitrogen. As professor Johan Martens, one of the lead scientists, explains: “ By slightly adjusting the filter, it starts to produce ammonia instead of nitrogen. When using it in the car, this would be an unwanted side-effect of a malfunctioning filter. However, for our purposes, it is perfect .” In short? This filter ensures that the NOx produced in the plasma reactor will work together with hydrogen to produce ammonia. Hydrogen Must Become Greener You got me here. By mentioning the ‘h’ word, it shows that there is a flaw. The process still uses hydrogen, which can - for now - only be produced using natural gas. To make this fertilizer-production process fully sustainable, the hydrogen will also have to be produced in a green fashion.   Recommended:  Breaking News! Hydrogen Cheaply Produced By Solar In Belgium While all technologies for creating green hydrogen are still in their infant stage, the researchers are not worried about it. They claim their invention is mostly for small-scale use, meaning that only tiny amounts of hydrogen are needed. At the same time, the KU Leuven University is working on creating hydrogen using water from the air and solar energy, proving that it can be done. Photo by Tractebel Greener Fertiliser Production The small scale is what makes this project so interesting. It could allow small farming businesses to produce their own fertilizer, which will be advantageous to both farmers and society. “ As a farm, you can generate enough green energy to make this work ,” scientists claim - while also pointing at the opportunities for such a technology in developing nations. It is hard to get access to fertilizer in those regions, as it will have to be shipped and travel great distances. Only one of those installations in a community could, therefore, already prove to be a game-changer.   Before you go! Recommended:  Climate Change: Water Scarcity, Hunger, Agriculture, And Food Do you like this article about agrivoltaics, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write and publish your article about growing food or solar energy? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to  [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations