Norweigan fertiliser company Yara and agricultural cooperativeLantmännen has signed a first-ever commercial agreement to offer fossil-free fertilisers to the market.
The green fertilisers are made from renewable energy and will help lower the carbon footprint of food production, offering consumers more sustainable produce.
Many food crops are heavily dependent on nitrogen, and most fertiliser used worldwide is a product of fossil fuel.
The production of nitrogen-rich fertilisers uses the Haber–Bosch Process, which generates around 465 Tg (1 Teragram = 1000000 tonnes) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. In addition, the process consumes a per cent of the planet’s energy supply from fossil fuel, an essential component of the process.
Unfortunately, if the production of nitrogen-based fertilisers were to come to a halt, crop yields would suffer.
With a common goal to create the world’s first fossil-free food chain, the two companies began testing the commercial viability of its green fertilisers in 2019.
Instead of using fossil fuels such as natural gas to produce ammonia – the building block of mineral fertilisers – the company will use ammonia-based renewable energy such as Norwegian hydropower. The result will be fertilisers with an 80- to 90-per-cent lower carbon footprint.
“Our partnership with Lantmännen to bring green fertilisers to market is crucial for decarbonising the food value chain,” shares Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO, Yara. “We have to transform the food system to deliver on the Paris Agreement, and this will require collaboration across the entire food chain instead of working in silos.”
Per Olof Nyman, group president and SEO of Lantmannen, said that the development of green fertilisers is a step closer to achieving climate-neutral farming.
“With the green fertilisers from Yara in place, we enable Swedish farmers to continue to be at the forefront, offering our customers sustainability performance according to global climate targets as well as bringing sustainable food to consumers,” said Nyman.
The fossil-free fertilisers will be incorporated into the cooperative’s cultivation program, Climate and Nature. The program allows farmers to adopt more sustainable and profitable farming practices.
The collaboration is also working on other projects to help reduce the carbon footprint.
In 2023, Yara is looking to launch a nitrate-based green fertiliser with a carbon footprint that is further reduced by 80 per cent using renewable energy. At the same time, Lantmannen continues to develop innovative farming practices and digital tools to transition to a more sustainable food chain.