Ammonia and Fritz Haber

78% of air is Nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the most important elements when it comes to food supply for the whole humanity and animals. To harvest crops nitrogenous fertilisers are needed. But Nitrogen found in air are not usable btmy plants to grow taller and faster. So back in 1800s islands full of birds feces called guano were captured by different nations. The guano contained 20% of Nitrogen which could be used for harvesting and more. There were export, import and even wars to take over these islands. But soon the guano started to decrease. The world needed more and more Nitrogen.

During the late 19th century, a chemist named Fritz Haber started thinking about how to produce a large amount of artificial ammonia and use it in fertilisers. He had many competitors so he worked for a long time in this project. He put oxygen and Nitrogen insude a gas chamber at high pressure and high temperature. For catalyst to reduce the amount of energy needed , he used Osmium. Osmium was very rare at that time but it work. His procedure was able to produce ammonia. Factories applied his methods to produce huge amount of ammonia for fertilisers production and more. Although he helped in WW1 to produce explosives as he supported his country. As a result he was not welcomed when he got the Nobel Prize. He is the scientist who changed the world. He killed millions but saved billions.

To know more you can watch this video  by Veritasium.




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