Lead Researchers: Nico Pinkowski, Charles Hillyer
Contact: Nico Pinkowski
Industry Partner: Nitricity 

Abstract: Nitricity has developed a technology that produces nitrogen fertilizer on-farm using air, water, and renewable electricity and will test this technology with the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT). This project coupled Nitricity’s solar-based nitrogen fertilizer system with a Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) irrigation system to evaluate if it would be possible to supply sufficient nitrogen for a small crop of processing tomatoes. Crops grown using the Nitricity fertilizer treatment were compared to crops grown using conventional fertilizer.

Project Background: For the past century, nitrogen fertilizer has been produced in centralized facilities hundreds to thousands of miles away from farmers who need the fertilizer. Immense market inefficiencies and safety hazards are involved in the distribution chain that leads to a farmer’s cost of fertilizer being 2-5 times higher than production gate costs. Environmentally, the industrial production of nitrogen fertilizer today relies on coal or natural gas and is responsible for over 1.6% of global CO 2 emissions. Even more CO 2 emissions are expected in the distribution of nitrogen fertilizer from hundreds of centralized plants to billions of acres of farmland.