The present invention provides methods and apparatus for the preparation of nitrogen fertilizers including ammonium nitrate, urea, urea-ammonium nitrate, and/or ammonia, at low temperature and pressure, preferably at ambient temperature and pressure, utilizing a source of carbon, a source of nitrogen, and/or a source of hydrogen or hydrogen equivalent. Implementing an electrolyte serving as ionic charge carrier, (1) ammonium nitrate is produced via the reduction of a nitrogen source at the cathode and the oxidation of a nitrogen source at the anode; (2) urea or its isomers are produced via the simultaneous cathodic reduction of a carbon source and a nitrogen source; (3) ammonia is produced via the reduction of nitrogen source at the cathode and the oxidation of a hydrogen source or a hydrogen equivalent such as carbon monoxide or a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen at the anode; and (4) urea-ammonium nitrate is produced via the simultaneous cathodic reduction of a carbon source and a nitrogen source, and anodic oxidation of a nitrogen source. The electrolyte can be aqueous, non-aqueous, or solid.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract No. DE-FC36-03GO13055 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and Contract Nos. 2003-38819-02014, 2004-38819-02182, 2005-38819-02311, and 2006-38819-03470 awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Government has certain rights in this invention.