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Jun 9, 2010 10:34 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New wind energy: turning wind into fertilizer

Researchers in Minnesota soon will produce fertilizer from the wind. Work is beginning on a nearly $4 million project that uses wind power from a towering turbine to produce anhydrous ammonia, a common nitrogen-based fertilizer.

The fertilizer produced at the test plant at the University of Minnesota in Morris will be used on the university's farm land, but supporters of the project say a system in which fertilizer is produced and sold nearby could contribute to the local economy.

The system creates fertilizer by using an air separation unit to pull nitrogen from the air, while the turbine powers a machine that separates water into hydrogen and oxygen. The nitrogen and hydrogen are then synthesized into anhydrous ammonia.

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