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Artificial Nitrogen Fixation

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Artificial Nitrogen Fixation

  1. 1. Topic: Why nitrogen is difficult to fix? Research trends regarding Artificial Nitrogen Fixation Presented By: D.Sairam Course : BSBT-102 ( Chemistry for Biologists) Course Instructor: Dr. Vineet Sharma Presentation Code: U5 P1
  2. 2. Contents What is Nitrogen Fixation? Why is Fixing Nitrogen an arduous task? Trends of Artificial Nitrogen Fixation • Haber’s Process • Birkeland- Hyde Process  Recent Advancements
  3. 3. What is Nitrogen Fixation?  Nitrogen fixation is a process in which nitrogen (N2) in the atmosphere is converted into ammonium (NH4 +) or Ammonium related compounds.  Atmospheric nitrogen or molecular nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert: it does not easily react with other chemicals to form new compounds.  . Performing this process manually is cumbersome and is a Herculean task as it requires tremendous amount of Energy. It is here that enzymes come to our rescue.  The process holds enormous biological significance as nitrogen is required to biosynthesize basic building blocks of plants, animals and other life forms, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and amino acids for proteins. It is also an essential component of various Fertilizers and even Explosives.
  4. 4. Why is fixing Nitrogen ( N2) such an arduous task?  Nitrogen has to be fixed- to be converted from nitrogen (N2) to be converted into another compound. So, to fix nitrogen, its covalent bonds have to be broken .  Covalent bonds are immensely strong and extremely difficult to break, let alone the three that bond a (N2) molecule.  Another thing is that due to the fact that it is already being stable and having a full valence shell, they no longer have the desire to react with other elements, or form other compounds.  Hence, Fixing Nitrogen is an arduous task.
  5. 5. Haber’s Process  This is a landmark process in Artificial Nitrogen Fixation.  Here, Nitrogen ( retrieved from the atmosphere) combines with Hydrogen ( obtained from Natural Gas) under the influence of Fe (at 400-4500C and pressure of around 100-800 atm) with Mo acting as a promoter.  Playing a video for further explanation. ( url available in the end )
  6. 6. Birkeland-Eyde Process • It is one of the first processes to take place while manufacturing nitrogen based fertilizers. It was developed by Norwegian scientist Birkeland and his partner Eyde. • First an Electric Arc was formed between two coaxial electrodes, and through the use of a strong magnetic field, was spread out into a thin disc. The plasma temperature in the disc was in excess of 3000°C. • Air was blown through this arc, causing some of the nitrogen to react with oxygen forming nitric oxide. ( equation 1) • By carefully controlling the energy of the arc and the velocity of the air stream, yields of up to 4% nitric oxide were obtained. • This process consumes a lot of Power, Energy and Resources so Birkeland used to get power ( about 15 Mwh/Ton of nitric acid) from the Hydroelectric Power Station.
  7. 7. • However, the same reaction is carried out by lightning, providing a natural source for converting atmospheric nitrogen to soluble nitrates. • Equations • N2 + 02 → 2 NO ( 1) The hot nitric oxide is cooled and combines with atmospheric oxygen to produce NO2 • 2 NO + O2 → 2 NO2 This nitrogen dioxide is then dissolved in water to give rise to nitric acid, which is then purified by fractional distillation 3 NO2 + H20 → 2 HNO3 + NO
  8. 8. Recent Advancements in Artificial Nitrogen Fixation • Of late there has been extensive research in transition-metal complexes capable of binding and activating N2. There has been research in this area to ensure easy conversion of N2 to NH3 • Approaches in Synthetic Biology has suggested that one day crops will be able to absorb N2 on their. Recently ( 2013) a team of 4 researchers each from UK and US have started using Synthetic Biology as a tool for designing crops that do not require Fertilizer. • In some places we have seen Molybdenum and Phosphine complexes being used as a medium for carrying out Artificial Nitrogen Fixation. • Another possibility is engineering of the legume symbiosis into cereals
  9. 9. References  http://www.ac.uni-kiel.de/tuczek/research-new/synthetic-nitrogen-fixation  http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-205610/nitrogen  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_fixation  http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/nitrogen-cycle-effects-artificial- fixation.html  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpxogOhFTPo  http://www.solarharvestfarm.com/haberboschnitrogenvsbiological1.html  http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/food-crops-could-be-made- self-fertilizing-nitrogen-fixing-bacteria-making-artificial-fertilizer-unecessary. html  http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=128878  http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/65/8/1939  http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/ic/c2ic90033e#!divAbst ract  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cr60316a001
  10. 10. THANK YOU

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