The same wind that brings rain to a thirsty corn field is generating anhydrous ammonia needed to fertilize Minnesota crops. Researchers at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center, near Morris, Minn., are investigating how unused wind energy in rural areas might economically produce this important input.
Commercial anhydrous ammonia plants extract nitrogen from the atmosphere by compressing and filtering air. Pressurized hydrogen and nitrogen is driven over a catalyst to produce anhydrous ammonia. Commercial plants utilize natural gas to make the needed hydrogen component.
The Minnesota pilot ...