Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

Energy use in fertilizer production

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on February 14, 2006

In the search for alternative and sustainable fuel sources, biodiesel is often cited as a primary candidate. However, there is one area of biodiesel production that needs to be carefully considered when analyzing how biodiesel can be used to end petroleum dependence. It is a not very commonly understood fact that nitrogen fertilizer, as it is produced today, is a major contributor to non-renewable fuel consumption.

1% of the world’s energy supply is consumed in the manufacturing of [artifical nitrogen] fertilizer [wikipedia].

In order for the U.S., or any country, to produce enough biofuel to replace petroleum, enough raw materials will need to be cultivated to convert into fuel. However, the productivity of any such cultivation will be greatly affected by the use of fertilizer. If artificial nitrogen fertilizers are used to cultivate crops used to manufacture biofuels, then the umbilical cord of petroleum dependence will not have been cut.

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