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Nitrogen fertiliser (21/12/21 19:53:25)
    Kristian Birkeland constructed an electric cannon, but had a mishap - or was it a faulty construction - so he had a drawn-out electric spark instead - hot enough to make nitrous oxide directly from the elements,to be converted into nitric acid and calcium nitrate. At the time the world was screaming for nitrogen fertiliser. Chile-saltpeter (peak production in 2017 was 2.7 million tons.
    Anyway -production of nitrous oxide occurs in flames -and, more notoriously, in diesel engines. The increase in nitrogen oxides everywhere hashad its botanical effects, visible every spring. Dandelion used to be a rare flower in the pre-nitrogen fertiliser days. Now it isn't rare any more.

    Anyway, direct burning of nitrogen wasuneconomical,so the process was replaced by the Haber-Bosch production of ammonia - NH3 - which was then burned to make nitrous oxide. In the beginning hydrogen wasmanufactured by the electrolysis of water. Heavy water, D2O, was a biproduct andis part of the history of the development of uranium-based technology (you may have seen that movie about the sabotage of the factory in Rjukan).

    This method, too became too expensive,sofor decades the hydrogen was made from fossil hydrocarbons. Now it seems that electrolysis is coming back to deliver "green" hydrogen. And deuterium.

    Interesting times ahead.

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Nitrogen fertiliser