Most of the worlds’ food growth indirectly relies on natural gas. Natural gas is mainly methane, or CH4, the major source of hydrogen used to make the fertiliser that increases crop output.
According to the Agronomy Journal, 30 to 50% of crop yield is attributable to commercial fertiliser nutrient inputs. Fertiliser is so important to the way food is produced, that by some estimates almost half the people on the Earth are currently fed as a result of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use.
In the late 1800s, some were concerned that the world’s population growth would outstrip food production, and that a mass starvation was inevitable. In 1918, Fritz Haber won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his theoretical solution to creating nitrogen, which plants need to grow. Shortly after, Carl Bosch commercialised the solution, which resulted in synthetic fertiliser. Nearly a hundred years on, we live in a world transformed by and highly dependent upon Haber–Bosch nitrogen.
Natural gas is critical to making fertiliser and access to natural gas recently drove one company to build its production facility in the U.S, where gas production is booming (read about it here).
Natural gas is abundant in Australia and can promote massive benefits to Australia’s prosperity as well. Let’s not let any more opportunities get away.