Life Cycle Energy of Renewably Produced Nitrogen Fertilizers

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
U of MN
Recipient Type
Private College/University
Start Date
July 2014
End Date
June 2017
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2014, Chp. 226, Sec. 2, Subd. 08e
Appropriation Language

$250,000 the second year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota for the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris to calculate fossil fuel energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions resulting from the use of local renewable energy technologies, including biomass gasification, anaerobic digestion, and hydroelectricity to produce fertilizer. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2017, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Click on Work Plan under Project Details.

Project Overview

Minnesota supports over 14 million acres of cropland in grain production. Almost 600,000 tons of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are needed annually to maintain productivity on this land, which requires the equivalent of 3,000,000 barrels of oil and costs farmers over $400 million dollars per year. This amount of fossil fuel use results in a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, while the absence of fossil energy resources in the state means that these synthetic nitrogen fertilizers must be imported into Minnesota from other states and overseas. In response to this, researchers at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center are using this appropriation to conduct modeling and analysis of the viability of options for using different renewable energy technologies that could be implemented in Minnesota for generating nitrogen fertilizer. Findings have the potential to help reduce agricultural energy related production costs and make rural communities more energy independent.

Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
U of MN
Street Address
46352 State Hwy 329
Zip Code
(320) 589-1711