Volume 94 Issue 17 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: April 25, 2016 | Web Date: April 22, 2016

Light sparks conversion of dinitrogen to ammonia

Hybrid nanotech-biological technique could lead to an environmentally friendly route to nitrogen fixation
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Environmental SCENE, Nano SCENE
Keywords: process chemistry, nitrogen fixation, dinitrogen, ammonia, nanotechnology, Haber-Bosch process

In an effort to improve on the way both nature and industry run chemical reactions, researchers have developed a technique that uses light to spur a bacterial enzyme to convert dinitrogen (N2) into ammonia (NH3). The method might one day lead to a more environmentally friendly industrial process for making NH3.

Currently, the iron-catalyzed Haber-Bosch process, used to make NH3 from N2, is one of the world’s largest industrial processes in terms of tonnage produced. . . .

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