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Physcial Sciences Division
Research Highlights

August 2019

Setting the Stage for Fuel-Efficient Fertilizer

Researchers identify the structure of the Janus intermediate - a principal actor in the enzymatic conversion of nitrogen into ammonia

Setting the Stage for Fuel-Efficient Fertilizer

Ammonia, the primary ingredient in nitrogen-based fertilizers, has helped feed the world since World War I. But making ammonia at an industrial scale takes a lot of energy, and it accounts for more than one percent of the world's total energy-related carbon emissions.

In nature, the enzyme nitrogenase produces ammonia in a much more environmentally benign way. Researchers are seeking to better understand how nitrogenase acts as a catalyst to break down nitrogen. What they learn could lead to new bio-inspired designs that improve the way fertilizers are made. Read more ...

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