The hidden heater – the laughing gas that is also a component in fertilizers

As part of the global effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, attention should be paid to “laughter gas” (N 2 O). This is not so funny because it is a basic component of the fertilizer industry. The solution – precise agriculture that will transport to each plant the food it needs and not the distribution of huge quantities indiscriminately

Today it is already known that carbon dioxide Oxygen is a greenhouse gas and its emissions into the atmosphere cause global warming, but in addition to carbon dioxide there are other greenhouse gases that for some reason have almost no reference to their contribution to global warming. One of them is the nitrous oxide gas (N 2 O) also known as “laughing gas”.

It turns out that the food industry is a source of greenhouse gases and agriculture contributes between 15% and 28% to global warming with a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture Is not of carbon dioxide but of dioxin (N 2 O), a gas that is not properly treated by the various factors in the systems. The dioxin dioxide molecules cause a warming of about 300 times that of a carbon dioxide molecule ,

and It has a lifespan of more than a hundred years. In addition, the gas causes damage to the ozone layer.

Hence the effect of the laughing gas on the climate is not funny at all. Scientists estimate that nitrous oxide has a “contribution” of about 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions and about a third of that comes from agriculture.

Despite its contribution to climate change, it has been ignored to this day , and gas continues to accumulate. In 2020, a survey was conducted in which it was found that in the last four decades gas emissions increased by 30% and thus passed all estimates.

One of the main causes of the increase in emissions is the increasing use of nitrogen-based chemical fertilizers. Scientists are currently looking for ways to improve farming methods in a way that will moderate the use of nitrogen fertilizers. (The simplest method is by returning to the use of organic fertilizers such as animal manure, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and even compost. AR)

Following the agricultural revolution that relied on fertilizers Chemicals developed and produced in the Aber-Bush process damaged the nitrogen cycle in the soil. Until the use of nitrogen and ammonia fertilizers, the plants consumed the ammonia created in the soil by bacteria or manure. This process was impaired when the use of chemical fertilizers began. The balance between the various components in the soil was distorted and an excess of nitrogen was created that would increase the quantities of crops and enable more food production.

But it turns out that this excess of nitrogen and ammonia has a heavy price. and soft ammonia production requires energy of about one percent of the total energy supply in the world , and its formation causes an emission of One and a half percent of all carbon dioxide emissions . In addition, the use of fertilizers causes dioxin emissions.

The tendency of farmers to fertilize in larger quantities than the plants are able to consume. (Excess amounts of soil fertilizers are washed into streams and rivers and cause algae blooms and damage to aquatic life systems. AR)

After all this the solution seems (at least partial) clear: there Moderate the fertilizer to the level required for the plant. It is right and proper to use manure and compost, and add chemicals only when needed. Instead, modern agriculture transfers the fertilizer to irrigation systems indiscriminately.

Today there is technology that makes it possible to measure the nutritional needs of crops and add chemicals only if necessary. Using existing technologies and reducing the distribution of chemicals will leave the benefits of the agricultural revolution and moderate the emissions and damage of the laughing gas.

More on the subject on the Scientist website:

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