Our objective is clear: Through applying modern process technology and new knowledge to Professor Birkeland’s old electric arc principle produce NO-gas – small scale and cost efficient. (Read: Enable the farmer to produce fertilizer from air on his farm). It is about recycling precious nitrogen. SBI has built two test units proving the do-ability, and Sintef has verified N2 Applied’s thesis. Now we need to optimize the process. We want the energy efficiency down to 36 GJ/tN. When this is accomplished N2 Applied is in business, and the world has turned to a new page in food production.
By April 1st 2015 the job will be done. The technology will be optimized, the prototype will have been tested at customer site, and N2 Applied will generate revenue. As will SBI.
A two year project – two years to implement what we know by now. Including choice of the first customer application – hopefully the lowest hanging fruits, and there are many to choose from. We are in the process of identifying both application and pilot customer as we speak.
The research and development has the objective of fixing Nitrogen from air in a plasma process under oxidative conditions to form NO gas and absorb it into a watery solution. The product is a solution containing a combination of HNO3, HNO2 and other Nitrogen components which altogether is able to stabilize the nitrification and de-nitrification processes in the organic material, and thereby stopping the loss of Nitrogen, adding Nitrogen from the air and converting organic waste and manure to a valuable balanced fertilizer.
The state of the art academic research and modeling is documenting that the potential for doing this in an energy-efficient and sustainable way is feasible. The required and possible energy efficiency is calculated to be 36 GJ/tN fixated.
In the first modeling of the old Birkeland process based on simplified chemical Arrhenius equilibrium equations as well as in an advanced simulation of 46 plasma rate reactions for making plasma from air, it is documented that the NO component can be formed with an energy input of 36 GJ/tN.
The remaining challenge is now to design the reactor loop and plasma unit which is able to meet the required theoretical conditions. These conditions are well within reach, and to shorten the time to market and securing the quality of the product and technology, an ambitious joint project plan is established.
You can read more about the sub-projects and activities comprising the project in the document Nitrogen for recovering organic Nitrogen – project description