The fertiliser industry has invested very successfully in emissions reduction over the last twenty years. Emissions into the air have been reduced by at least 90% for laughing gas (N2O) and 60% for nitrogen oxides (NOx). Specific nitrogen losses into the surface water have been reduced by 80%!
The mineral fertiliser industry is directly involved in the development of the European emissions trading system, especially in respect of the basic products ammonia and nitric acid, both of which constitute the foundation for producing almost all mineral fertilisers. Emissions of greenhouse gases during production have been halved since 2005. And that means the industry has already achieved the emissions target set by the EU for 2030. At the moment, mineral fertilisers account for around 3% of global gas consumption or around 1% of total global energy consumption. In contrast, around 50% of the world’s population is reliant on this technology for their daily bread.
Major investments have also been made in energy savings. Belgian facilities in the nitrogen chain are among the top 10% of companies in Europe. Energy consumption per tonne of end product was reduced by 20% over the period (2010-2015). This trend in production is likely to slow because further efficiency improvements in the field often entail more complex products. However, the producers are making every effort to improve these figures even further.