A report on Ammonia and Haber process

Ball-and-stick model of the diamminesilver(I) cation, [Ag(NH3)2]+
Fritz Haber, 1918
Ball-and-stick model of the tetraamminediaquacopper(II) cation, [Cu(NH3)4(H2O)2](2+)
A historical (1921) high-pressure steel reactor for production of ammonia via the Haber process is displayed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Jabir ibn Hayyan
First reactor at the Oppau plant in 1913
This high-pressure reactor was built in 1921 by BASF in Ludwigshafen and was re-erected on the premises of the University of Karlsruhe in Germany.
Profiles of the active components of heterogeneous catalysts; the top right figure shows the profile of a shell catalyst.
A train carrying Anhydrous Ammonia.
Liquid ammonia bottle
Modern ammonia reactor with heat exchanger modules: The cold gas mixture is preheated to reaction temperature in heat exchangers by the reaction heat and cools in turn the produced ammonia.
Household ammonia
Energy diagram
Ammoniacal Gas Engine Streetcar in New Orleans drawn by Alfred Waud in 1871.
Industrial fertilizer plant
The X-15 aircraft used ammonia as one component fuel of its rocket engine
Anti-meth sign on tank of anhydrous ammonia, Otley, Iowa. Anhydrous ammonia is a common farm fertilizer that is also a critical ingredient in making methamphetamine. In 2005, Iowa used grant money to give out thousands of locks to prevent criminals from getting into the tanks.
The world's longest ammonia pipeline (roughly 2400 km long), running from the TogliattiAzot plant in Russia to Odessa in Ukraine
Hydrochloric acid sample releasing HCl fumes, which are reacting with ammonia fumes to produce a white smoke of ammonium chloride.
Production trend of ammonia between 1947 and 2007
Main symptoms of hyperammonemia (ammonia reaching toxic concentrations).
Ammonia occurs in the atmospheres of the outer giant planets such as Jupiter (0.026% ammonia), Saturn (0.012% ammonia), and in the atmospheres and ices of Uranus and Neptune.

The process converts atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3) by a reaction with hydrogen (H2) using a metal catalyst under high temperatures and pressures:

- Haber process

The Haber–Bosch process to produce ammonia from the nitrogen in the air was developed by Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch in 1909 and patented in 1910.

- Ammonia
Ball-and-stick model of the diamminesilver(I) cation, [Ag(NH3)2]+

12 related topics with Alpha

Overall

A farmer spreading manure to improve soil fertility

Fertilizer

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Any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soil or to plant tissues to supply plant nutrients.

Any material of natural or synthetic origin that is applied to soil or to plant tissues to supply plant nutrients.

A farmer spreading manure to improve soil fertility
World population supported with and without synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.
Founded in 1812, Mirat, producer of manures and fertilizers, is claimed to be the oldest industrial business in Salamanca (Spain).
Six tomato plants grown with and without nitrate fertilizer on nutrient-poor sand/clay soil. One of the plants in the nutrient-poor soil has died.
Inorganic fertilizer use by region
Total nitrogenous fertilizer consumption per region, measured in tonnes of total nutrient per year.
An apatite mine in Siilinjärvi, Finland.
Compost bin for small-scale production of organic fertilizer
A large commercial compost operation
Applying superphosphate fertilizer by hand, New Zealand, 1938
Fertilizer burn
N-Butylthiophosphoryltriamide, an enhanced efficiency fertilizer.
Fertilizer use (2018). From FAO's World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020
The diagram displays the statistics of fertilizer consumption in western and central European counties from data published by The World Bank for 2012.
Runoff of soil and fertilizer during a rain storm
Large pile of phosphogypsum waste near Fort Meade, Florida.
Red circles show the location and size of many dead zones.
Global methane concentrations (surface and atmospheric) for 2005; note distinct plumes

In particular, nitrogen-fixing chemical processes such as the Haber process at the beginning of the 20th century, amplified by production capacity created during World War II led to a boom in using nitrogen fertilizers.

Only some bacteria and their host plants (notably legumes) can fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2) by converting it to ammonia.

Daniel Rutherford, discoverer of nitrogen

Nitrogen

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Chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7.

Chemical element with the symbol N and atomic number 7.

Daniel Rutherford, discoverer of nitrogen
The shapes of the five orbitals occupied in nitrogen. The two colours show the phase or sign of the wave function in each region. From left to right: 1s, 2s (cutaway to show internal structure), 2px, 2py, 2pz.
Table of nuclides (Segrè chart) from carbon to fluorine (including nitrogen). Orange indicates proton emission (nuclides outside the proton drip line); pink for positron emission (inverse beta decay); black for stable nuclides; blue for electron emission (beta decay); and violet for neutron emission (nuclides outside the neutron drip line). Proton number increases going up the vertical axis and neutron number going to the right on the horizontal axis.
Molecular orbital diagram of dinitrogen molecule, N2. There are five bonding orbitals and two antibonding orbitals (marked with an asterisk; orbitals involving the inner 1s electrons not shown), giving a total bond order of three.
Solid nitrogen on the plains of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto next to water ice mountains
Structure of [Ru(NH3)5(N2)]2+ (pentaamine(dinitrogen)ruthenium(II)), the first dinitrogen complex to be discovered
Mesomeric structures of borazine, (–BH–NH–)3
Standard reduction potentials for nitrogen-containing species. Top diagram shows potentials at pH 0; bottom diagram shows potentials at pH 14.
Nitrogen trichloride
Nitrogen dioxide at −196 °C, 0 °C, 23 °C, 35 °C, and 50 °C. converts to colourless dinitrogen tetroxide at low temperatures, and reverts to  at higher temperatures.
Fuming nitric acid contaminated with yellow nitrogen dioxide
Schematic representation of the flow of nitrogen compounds through a land environment
A container vehicle carrying liquid nitrogen.

Many industrially important compounds, such as ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanides, contain nitrogen.

Nitrogen fixation by industrial processes like the Frank–Caro process (1895–1899) and Haber–Bosch process (1908–1913) eased this shortage of nitrogen compounds, to the extent that half of global food production (see Applications) now relies on synthetic nitrogen fertilisers.

The Space Shuttle Main Engine burnt hydrogen with oxygen, producing a nearly invisible flame at full thrust.

Hydrogen

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Chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1.

Chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1.

The Space Shuttle Main Engine burnt hydrogen with oxygen, producing a nearly invisible flame at full thrust.
Depiction of a hydrogen atom with size of central proton shown, and the atomic diameter shown as about twice the Bohr model radius (image not to scale)
Hydrogen gas is colorless and transparent, here contained in a glass ampoule.
Phase diagram of hydrogen. The temperature and pressure scales are logarithmic, so one unit corresponds to a 10x change. The left edge corresponds to 105 Pa, which is about atmospheric pressure.
A sample of sodium hydride
Hydrogen discharge (spectrum) tube
Deuterium discharge (spectrum) tube
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier
Hydrogen emission spectrum lines in the visible range. These are the four visible lines of the Balmer series
NGC 604, a giant region of ionized hydrogen in the Triangulum Galaxy
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Most hydrogen is used near the site of its production, the two largest uses being fossil fuel processing (e.g., hydrocracking) and ammonia production, mostly for the fertilizer market.

In the Haber process for the production of ammonia, hydrogen is generated from natural gas.

A range of industrial catalysts in pellet form

Catalysis

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Process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst.

Process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst.

A range of industrial catalysts in pellet form
An air filter that utilizes a low-temperature oxidation catalyst to convert carbon monoxide to less toxic carbon dioxide at room temperature. It can also remove formaldehyde from the air.
Generic potential energy diagram showing the effect of a catalyst in a hypothetical exothermic chemical reaction X + Y to give Z. The presence of the catalyst opens a different reaction pathway (shown in red) with a lower activation energy. The final result and the overall thermodynamics are the same.
The microporous molecular structure of the zeolite ZSM-5 is exploited in catalysts used in refineries
Zeolites are extruded as pellets for easy handling in catalytic reactors.
Left: Partially caramelized cube sugar, Right: burning cube sugar with ash as catalyst
levofloxaxin synthesis

For example, in the Haber process, finely divided iron serves as a catalyst for the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen.

Fuming nitric acid contaminated with yellow nitrogen dioxide

Nitric acid

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Inorganic compound with the formula HNO3.

Inorganic compound with the formula HNO3.

Fuming nitric acid contaminated with yellow nitrogen dioxide
Two major resonance representations of HNO3
Nitric acid in a laboratory

Upon adding a base such as ammonia, the color turns orange.

By using ammonia derived from the Haber process, the final product can be produced from nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen which are derived from air and natural gas as the sole feedstocks.

Ammonium nitrate

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Chemical compound with the chemical formula NH4NO3.

Chemical compound with the chemical formula NH4NO3.

Ammonium nitrate was mined there until the Haber–Bosch process made it possible to synthesize nitrates from atmospheric nitrogen, thus rendering nitrate mining obsolete.

Ca(NO3)2 + 2 NH3 + CO2 + H2O → 2 NH4NO3 + CaCO3

Schematic representation of the nitrogen cycle. Abiotic nitrogen fixation has been omitted.

Nitrogen fixation

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Schematic representation of the nitrogen cycle. Abiotic nitrogen fixation has been omitted.
Nodules are visible on this broad bean root
A sectioned alder tree root nodule
Equipment for a study of nitrogen fixation by alpha rays (Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory, 1926)
Lightning heats the air around it breaking the bonds of starting the formation of nitrous acid.

Nitrogen fixation is a chemical process by which molecular nitrogen, with a strong triple covalent bond, in the air is converted into ammonia or related nitrogenous compounds, typically in soil or aquatic systems but also in industry.

The process was eclipsed by the Haber process, which was discovered in 1909.

Fritz Haber, c. 1919

Fritz Haber

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Fritz Haber, c. 1919
Clara Immerwahr
The grave of Fritz and Clara Haber (née Immerwahr) in the Hörnli graveyard of Basel, Switzerland

Fritz Haber (9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his invention of the Haber–Bosch process, a method used in industry to synthesize ammonia from nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas.

Block flow diagram of the ammonia synthesis process

Ammonia production

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Block flow diagram of the ammonia synthesis process
Illustrating inputs and outputs of steam reforming of natural gas, a process to produce hydrogen
Illustrating inputs and outputs of methane pyrolysis, a process to produce hydrogen.
Illustrating inputs and outputs of simple electrolysis of water, for production of hydrogen.
The Process to make ammonia from coal

Ammonia is one of the most highly produced inorganic chemicals.

Today, most ammonia is produced on a large scale by the Haber process with capacities of up to 3,300 tonnes per day.

Natural gas burner on a natural-gas-burning stove

Natural gas

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Naturally occurring mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons consisting primarily of methane in addition to various smaller amounts of other higher alkanes.

Naturally occurring mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons consisting primarily of methane in addition to various smaller amounts of other higher alkanes.

Natural gas burner on a natural-gas-burning stove
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Natural gas drilling rig in Texas, USA
Countries by natural gas proven reserves (2014), based on data from The World Factbook
The location of shale gas compared to other types of gas deposits
Natural gas processing plant in Aderklaa, Lower Austria
Schematic flow diagram of a typical natural gas processing plant
Natural gas extraction by countries in cubic meters per year around 2013
Polyethylene plastic main being placed in a trench
Construction close to high pressure gas transmission pipelines is discouraged, often with standing warning signs.
Peoples Gas Manlove Field natural gas storage area in Newcomb Township, Champaign County, Illinois. In the foreground (left) is one of the numerous wells for the underground storage area, with an LNG plant, and above ground storage tanks are in the background (right).
Manhole for domestic gas supply, London, UK
A Washington, D.C. Metrobus, which runs on natural gas
The warming influence (called radiative forcing) of long-lived greenhouse gases has nearly doubled in 40 years, with carbon dioxide and methane being the dominant drivers of global warming.
A pipeline odorant injection station
Gas network emergency vehicle responding to a major fire in Kyiv, Ukraine
Natural gas prices at the Henry Hub in US dollars per million BTUs
Comparison of natural gas prices in Japan, United Kingdom, and United States, 2007–2011
US Natural Gas Marketed Production 1900 to 2012 (US EIA data)
Trends in the top five natural gas-producing countries (US EIA data)

Natural gas is a major feedstock for the production of ammonia, via the Haber process, for use in fertilizer production.