The Italian Zeolite. Premise 1/2

In 1909 the German chemist Fritz Haber managed to transform gaseous nitrogen, abundant in the atmosphere but not reactive, into ammonia (reactive nitrogen). Twenty years later, Carl Bosch developed a method to exploit Haber’s idea on an industrial level. In the following decades, a growing number of industries began to transform tons of industrial ammonia into synthetic fertilizers and the invention of Haber-Bosch is now considered one of the most important discoveries for demographic development. Pillar of the “green revolution”, the synthetic fertilizer has allowed farmers to obtain a high increase in production both by cultivating low fertile land and by relentlessly exploiting a soil with the same cultivation (monoculture) producing crops on crops without waiting for the nutrients to reform in a natural way resulting in the passage of the world’s population from 1.6 billion to 6 billion in the 21st century. All these advantages, however, have involved a high price represented by the growing and alarming environmental problems related to the main elements that agricultural activity must necessarily bring to the land (irrigation water, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) to obtain increasingly satisfactory crops. Every year 4000 km3 of fresh water are taken from rivers, lakes and aquifers for irrigation (70% with peaks of 95% in the Po river basin), industry (20%) and domestic use (10%). According to the COSMO-CLM model, developed by a European consortium and developed by the scientists of CMCC (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change) and CIRA (Italian Aerospace Research Center), in Italy a general increase in temperature is expected with consequent intensification extreme weather events such as dry periods (consecutive days with precipitation less than 1 mm per day), “tropical nights” (days when the minimum temperature is above 20 ° C) and “summer” days (increase from 10 at 20 days with maximum temperatures above 25 ° C). Precipitations will suffer a drastic reduction in quantity, but, above all, will increase those of the “intensive” type (rainy events that exceed 20 mm in one day) and therefore the risk of flooding.

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