MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences

Re: Can I produce my own Nitrogen fertilizer from the atmosphere

Date: Sun May 2 08:06:02 1999
Posted By: Mark Madachik, PD, Heartland Farm/Nursery
Area of science: Agricultural Sciences
ID: 923466976.Ag

Nitrogen fixation is the biological or industrial process by which molecular atmospheric nitrogen converted into a chemical compound. The most productive soil microorganism capable of nitrogen fixation is the symbiotic bacteria Rhizobium, which forms nodules on the roots of leguminous plants. The bacteria obtain food from the legume, while supplying the plant with nitrogen compounds.

The need for fixed nitrogen in agriculture today is far greater than can be supplied by natural biological processes, and the production of nitrogen compounds from atmospheric nitrogen is a major chemical industry. The principal industrial nitrogen-fixation process is the production of ammonia by passing a mixture of atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen over a metallic catalyst at high temperatures.

Plants depend on a combined or “fixed” N sources as Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite, Urea. The generator to which you refer is making nitogrn gas which for your purposes is economically useless since you can use only "fixed" nitrogen.

You might want to check out the web page http://www.china- This is a company working with nitrogen fixing bacteria as a natural fertilizer.

The cost is the most limiting factor with all methods. You are essentially talking about a system the same as fertilizer companies now utilize. To do this on a small scale for personal use just would not be cost effective. Just dealing with the EPA would give you fits for a life time. I know when the fertilizer bills arrive we all gasp a bit but considering other agricultural expenses its really a fair bargain if utilized properly.

I hoped this helped a little. Mark

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