Lead Researchers: Shawn Askhan, Charles Hillyer
Contact: Shawn Askhan
Industry Partner: Nitricity
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 CO2 emissions. Even more CO2 emissions are expected in the distribution of nitrogen fertilizer from hundreds of centralized plants to billions of acres of farmland. 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). The purpose of this collaboration is to test if Nitricity’s solar-based nitrogen fertilizer system, coupled to a CIT irrigation system, can supply the nitrogen requirement of a small crop of processing tomatoes. Crops grown using the Nitricity fertilizer treatment will be compared to crops grown using conventional fertilizer applied on the same schedule.