The Navoiyazot chemical plant in Navoiy, Uzbekistan uses a chemical reactor to eliminate 97 percent of its emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Credit: Casale The Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and the Navoiyazot chemical plant in Navoi, Uzbekistan, have a lot in common. Both tap an abundance of low-cost natural gas to produce nitric acid, a chemical used to make fertilizer, and both have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their plants in recent years to boost fertilizer exports. When viewed through a climate lens, however, the difference between the two plants is stark. The Uzbek plant employs low-cost, state-of-the-art abatement technology that reduces 97 percent or more of its emissions of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas and an unwanted byproduct of nitric acid production. The U.S. plant reduces approximately one quarter of its total nitrous oxide emissions using alternative abatement technology that was installed primarily to reduce other pollutants. In 2019, the Donaldsonville plant released 6,665 tons of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, according to information plant owner CF Industries That is equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 430,000 automobiles. Nitrous oxide, or N2O, the “laughing gas” long administered by […]

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