Green Chemistry Paper
The Presidential Green Chemistry Awards recognize green processes that reduce waste and benefit the environment. The award “Making Nitrogen Fertilizers Work More Effectively for Farmers and the Planet” (Dow AgroSciences LLC, 2016) is about nitrogen stabilizers, N-Swerve and Instinct. These nitrogen stabilizers inhibit soil bacteria from quickly converting ammoniacal nitrogen to nitrate allowing nitrogen to stay longer in the root of the crop (Dow AgroSciences LLC,2016). This technology reduces the amount of nitrate from being wasted into the soil, the atmosphere and getting most of the nitrate into the crop.
Nitrogen is important for plant growth; this element is applied to the crop via fertilizer. The average fertilizer gives off nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium into the soil because soil alone doesn’t obtain all the nutrients that is needed for the growth of plants. Fertilizers usually contain three forms of nitrogen; Ammonium, Nitrate and Urea (Mattson, 2009). Soil has bacteria that convert urea to ammonium to nitrate (Mattson,2009). This soil bacteria quickly produces nitrate causing there to be a nitrate leaching into the soil. Excessive nitrate into the soil is not beneficial to the environment along with it not being fully utilized by the root of the crop to increase the production of crops, (Dow AgroSciences LLC,2016).
The excess amount of nitrate in the soil causes the bacteria to produce nitrous dioxide into the environment, “There are close relationships between the excessive application of nitrogen fertilizers and environmental problems such as eutrophication, the greenhouse effect, and acid rain” (Liu,2014). Another pollutant that is released from the use of nitrogen fertilizers are carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide has a higher production when there is more nitrogen fertilizer added to the crop. Carbon dioxide is a known greenhouse gas along with nitrous oxide. Greenhouse gases are a pollutant in the environment, these greenhouses gases cause global warming.
Along with environmental issues this can also have a long-term effect on human health, “Consuming contaminated groundwater or crops with a high concentration of nitrate has negative effects on human health” (Lui,2014). Nitrate increases how much algae is produced in water sources. This boom of algae can leave communities without drinking water. In 2013, about $1 million was spent cleaning algae from water supply that left Toleda residents without drinking water (Weir Schechinger,2015). Reduction of nitrate leaching can have a positive effect on keeping water sources clean and the improving overall health.
The amount of damages that fertilizer cause to agriculture is very costly. There are about $157 billion yearly damages from the nitrogen of fertilizers (Weir Schechinger,2015). Economically the production of nitrogen is expensive, the less nitrogen that gets in the crop means that more fertilizer must be used. The cost in human health damages and environment damages equate to about $210 billion every year and agriculture is 75 percent the reason for these extreme damage cost (Weir Schechinger,2015). Finding a way to reduce theses cost and lessen the pollutions is critical to ensuring that pollution is reduced.
Repairing the damage is costlier than avoiding the damage. To implement change, this new technology the nitrogen stabilizer allows for more nitrogen to be absorbed into the plants roots. This impact on the environment is significant. By using the nitrogen stabilizer in form of microcapsule. In five year there was dramatic increase in crop production, “acres treated with stabilized nitrogen have grown more than five-fold” (Dow AgroSciences LLC, 2016). The Instinct technology was shown to reduce the use of harmful petroleum solvents. Studies have also shown that the use of the nitrogen stabilizer has helped carbon dioxide emissions decreased by “664,000 metric tons” (Dow AgroSciences LLC, 2016). Also, there was an increase in the crop of corn, “$205,500,000 additional production revenue for U.S. corn growers.” (Dow AgroSciences LLC, 2016).
The specific N-swerve and Instinct technology has spread to farmers to increase the benefits of the environment. Not only are these technologies called inhibitor by inhibiting the soil bacteria from quickly converting ammoniacal nitrogen to nitrate (Dow AgroSciences LLC, 2016), but they are also known to be maximizer because of the benefits that they acquire.
The green chemistry principles that apply to this technology are the prevention of waste, pollution prevention, less hazardous and a higher yield of crops. Green principles are principles that states how to produce greener reactions that can somehow reduce hazardous waste or benefit the environment in other ways. The benefits of using this Instinct and N-Swerve maximizer technology are to increase the health of the crops, the health of the environment, reducing future cost and overall innovatively making the world a greener place starting with agriculture.