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Not enough carbon dioxide!?

The Odessa port plant in the Ukraine produces ammonia and other nitrogenous fertilisers.  

Scientists agree that too much carbon dioxide is still being released into the atmosphere by human activity. Yet in this recent article, the BBC report on how a shortage of carbon dioxide is causing concern for meat producers and consumers amongst others....


Carbon dioxide 'threatens food security' says meat  industry - BBC News

Why a shortage of commercial carbon dioxide is causing concern for meat production 

Carbon dioxide - some  facts and questions

Why not extract carbon dioxide  from the atmosphere ?

Carbon dioxide makes up only 0.04% of the atmosphere. It can be extracted from the atmosphere by cooling. But this this will require huge amounts of energy and so producing carbon dioxide in this way is not ( yet ) economically viable.  

Water + Gas + Air = fertiliser ( GCSE chemistry)   

If studying GCSE - you should work your way through this presentation.  If studying A level - you might like to run through it by way of revision.. 

Why soaring gas prices have reduced ammonia production.. 

Natural gas ( Methane CH4) is one of the raw materials for the production of ammonia.  

A recent massive rise in the price of wholesale natural gas and a decrease in the demand for (and therefore price of) ammonia has meant that ammonia manufacture has declined and in some places has been halted.   

Carbon dioxide is a by product of ammonia production. 

This has led to a decrease in supply of commercial carbon dioxide and caused the current shortage.

Some important chemical principles 

the ammonia production process
Various parts of this process are frequently  used for examples which help to explain principles of equilibria, reaction rates, catalysts and atom economy. All of these ideas can be found in A level chemistry . It is a good idea to become familiar with it.  Parts 6, 7 and 8 are usually studied at GCSE.

 Key concept :  Atom economy 

The atom economy of a reaction is a measure of the amount of starting materials that end up as useful products. It is important for sustainable development and for economic reasons to use reactions with high atom economy. 

In this video David shows how the atom economy for stage 1 of the ammonia production process can be calculated.

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