Uztaro 107 (2018)

Nitrogenoa: iragana eta orainaldia konektaturik

Laburpena:

Airearen osagai nagusia den nitrogeno gasak lotura historiko estua du gizartearen garapen ekonomiko, sozial eta politikoarekin, amoniakoaren sintesian izan duen protagonismoa dela-eta. 1908. urtean Fritz Haber-ek lorturiko amoniakoaren sintesia kimikaren mugarri zientifikoa izan zen, eta, aldi berean, aurkako helburuak zituzten sektore industrial askoren garapena goitik behera aldatu zuen aurkikuntza horrek, hala nola biztanleriaren hazkundea bermatzen zuten laborantza-ongarrien ekoizpena eta gerra-xederako fabrikatzen ziren lehergaien industria erabat transformatu zituen. Egia esan, XX. mendearen hasierako hamarkadetako arazoak konpontzeko aurrerapen itzela izan zen, eta oraindik ere sintesi-prozesu horren menpe bizi gara. Ez du ordezkorik, baina kontuan izan behar dugu haren inpaktu ekologikoa jasanezina dela eta gaur egun ingurumenarekiko kalteak agerian daudela. Beraz, historian zehar amoniakoaren sintesiaren berrikuntza historikoak gizateriaren alde eta kontra eragin dituen ondorioak eta kontraesanak erakustea da artikulu honen helburua.

GAKO-HITZAK: Nitrogenoa · Ongarriak · Iraunkortasuna · Haber.

Nitrogen: connecting past with present
Gaseous nitrogen —the major component of air— has played a decisive role in humanity’s economic, social and political development, as it is crucial for the synthesis of ammonia. In 1908, the chemist Fritz Haber became the first person to synthesize ammonia in a laboratory, marking a new milestone in chemistry. This achievement led to a revolution in productive activities with fully opposite uses. For example, the process allowed manufacturing fertilizers, which clearly had a knock-on effect on food production, and therefore population growth. By contrast, the manufacture of explosives for military purposes also underwent a radical change. Nevertheless, although the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen was the solution for many problems in the early 20th century, it is remarkable that the world’s population still depends on it. No feasible, sustainable replacement has been found, and its environmental ramifications will have to be addressed sooner rather than later. The objective of this article is to highlight the contradictions and the pros and cons that arose from the ammonia synthesis along history.

KEY WORDS: Nitrogen · Fertilizers · Sustainability · Haber.