Inside Climate News discusses A German Initiative Seeks to Curb Global Emissions of a Climate Super-Pollutant. The nitrous oxide emissions from hundreds of chemical plants globally, 300 times more warming than carbon dioxide, are the greenhouse equivalent of 45 million cars.
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.