plasNifix ($10K Grant funding for green ammonia synthesis via low-temperature plasma to decarbonize agriculture)

PlasNifix, a Swiss cleantech startup founded in 2022, develops plasma-assisted ammonia synthesis technology which produces ammonia at a low temperature using green energy. This novel technology requires 40% less energy for ammonia production and can be run exclusively with green energy at zero carbon emissions.

Challenges: green ammonia

Ammonia (NH₃) is a crucial compound for agriculture. In 2021, the global production of ammonia was 185 million metric tons, with over 80% being used for fertilizer production. As the global population increases, so does the demand for ammonia.

However, ammonia production consumes about 2% of worldwide fossil fuel due to the energy-intensive nature of the process. This generates over 420 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO₂) annually, which accounts for 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The primary method of ammonia production is the Haber-Bosch process carried out in a large industrial plant. The Haber-Bosch process converts hydrogen (H₂) and nitrogen (N₂) into ammonia. This process requires extreme reaction conditions involving high pressure and temperature, along with pure hydrogen. The high temperatures and pressures are intentionally engineered for the application of solid catalysts, such as Ru, Mo, or Fe-based catalysts, to attain significant yields of ammonia. The processes of hydrogen and nitrogen heating to temperatures exceeding 450 ºC and compression to 200 bars (20 MPa) requires substantial energy input and significantly contribute to carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop technologies for ammonia synthesis in a sustainable manner. The utilization of renewable energy to convert N₂ and green hydrogen into NH₃ represents a promising approach for the production of green ammonia production.

plasNifix Technology

plasNifix has developed a plasma technology which synthesizes ammonia at a low temperature and pressure using nitrogen gas, hydrogen gas, gaseous catalysts, and renewable energy input. This technology reduces carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption by a substantial amount. Furthermore, in contrast to solid catalysts used in the Haber-Bosch process, this technology uses gaseous catalysts that are uniformly dispersed throughout the plasma reactor to significantly promote ammonia production.

plasNifix ammonia

The diagram below illustrates the system and process of plasNifix plasma technology for ammonia synthesis.

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