Helping to Save the World >300 Million Tonnes of CO2-e
The chemical processes that CF uses generate significant carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, but the nature of CF’s operations and the products we manufacture actually prevent and reduce more carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions than we generate – even as we have significantly lowered our own greenhouse gas emissions intensity in recent years.
Natural Gas Matters
Not all nitrogen production is the same. While carbon emissions are an unavoidable byproduct of ammonia production, the level of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions generated is tied to the type of feedstock used: natural gas in the case of CF or anthracite coal by producers in China. With China decreasing nitrogen production capacity in response to recent expansions (including those at CF), we estimate that at least 4.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent has, in effect, been avoided.
Fertilizer use increases crop yields per acre, meaning more food can be grown on less land. That, in turn, reduces the need to convert carbon-sequestering forestland into farmland. Increasing crop yields thereby works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting deforestation.
If farmers used no synthetic fertilizer, approximately 30 percent more farmland would be needed to grow food. The resulting deforestation would cause an increase of nearly five gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
For more detail on our greenhouse gas emissions in context, view this infographic.
Our plants generate two types of carbon dioxide as a result of the Haber-Bosch process: combustion CO2 and process CO2. We are able to reuse process CO2 rather than emit it into the air.
We reuse process CO2 three ways: production of granular urea, pressure control in our plants, and sales to third parties that use it for, among other things, carbonation in beverages. In 2017, we reused approximately 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 – approximately 25 percent of our reported carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions – in the production of granular urea.
Extending Our Impact
We regularly invest in technology that helps reduce nitrous oxide emissions, which has drawn the attention of Cool Effect (http://www.cooleffect.org), an environmental nonprofit that allows individuals to “crowdfund” emissions-reducing projects. Cool Effect enables individuals to purchase the N2O abatement credits that the N2O reduction project at our Yazoo City, Mississippi, plant generates. We then donate the proceeds from those credits to The Nature Conservancy’s work on the 4R Plus program to improve soil health and water quality in Iowa.
Staying Accountable for our Progress
In the United Kingdom, CF discloses the carbon footprints of all fertilizers and certifies them to the rigorous Publicly Available Standard 2050 (PAS 2050). Certification ensures maximum credibility of our carbon footprints and provides a baseline against which to measure our decreasing impact.