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BASF and Yuntianhua Launch Project to Reduce Emissions from Fertilizer Use

As carbon experts, First Climate supports the project’s registration process and marketing of credits


The use of nitrogen-based urea fertilizers in agriculture leads to significant greenhouse gas emissions. BASF and Yunnan Yuntianhua Co, Ltd. partnered to find a solution that minimizes urea fertilizer’s negative impact on the climate. The result was a stabilized urea fertilizer containing BASF urease inhibitor Limus®, that improves nitrogen use efficiency and reduces CO2e emissions. To verify emissions reductions from the use of the fertilizer, the two companies worked with First Climate to develop and implement a pilot project in China. First Climate will also support to market the carbon credits issued from the project’s emission reductions.


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The introduction of nitrogen in fertilizer transformed agricultural production to significantly increase food availability globally, and the breakthrough has even been said to feed the world. Using urea fertilizer has a negative side, however. 15% of nitrogen is released into the atmosphere as ammonia, harming water quality, air quality, and soil health. In addition, it also releases nitrous oxide, a particularly harmful greenhouse gas that is around 273 times more potent than carbon dioxide in heating the atmosphere.


To help address this problem, Yuntianhua’s stabilized urea fertilizer containing BASF’s urease inhibitor Limus® was introduced in China to reduce emissions and improve nitrogen use efficiency.


“Applying the urease inhibitor Limus® on urea fertilizer stabilizes the urea and emits less ammonia and nitrous oxide in comparison to standard, non-treated fertilizers,” explains Wolfgang Brueckner, Managing Director of Project Development at First Climate, “Less ammonia volatilization and efficient use of nitrogen enables the farmer to optimize yield and fertilizer input. That has very positive implications for agricultural emissions.”


First Climate developed a methodology to quantify the pilot project’s emission reductions, which has since been validated by an independent auditor according to the internationally recognised standards. The project is expected to reduce emissions in the equivalent of over 20,000 gas-powered cars per year.


“BASF is excited to be a pioneer with Yuntianhua in bringing more value to farmers in China through this climate smart farming initiative. First Climate helped us to design the carbon project according to international greenhouse gas accounting standards and quantify the emission reductions so that we know how much of a climate impact we make,” says Dr. Markus Schmid, N-Management business lead at BASF.


First Climate has already begun monitoring the pilot project and will report initial outcomes in 2024. If successful, this project will give upstream producers in the agricultural value chain the opportunity to obtain verified emissions reductions from the use of stabilized nitrogen fertilizer. The pilot project has significant potential to grow into a larger program throughout China and globally.

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