Science Focus (Issue 23)

17 but to no avail [3]. The incompatibility between bacterial genes and plants, as well as conflicting mechanisms of oxygenic photosynthesis and anaerobic nitrogen fixation, posed technical chal lenges that were too diff icult to overcome [3]. Recent research focus has shifted to the use of coordination compounds (footnote 2) and nanoparticles of other transition metals [4]. Hydrogen Generation Another key i ng red i ent i n the Haber process is hydrogen, which naturally exists in the forms of fossi l fuel s and water. It is typical ly generated from steammethane reforming (CH4(g) + H2O(g) → 3H2(g) + CO(g)), then followed by watergas shift reaction to fur ther produce hydrogen (CO(g) + H2O(g) → H2(g) + CO2(g)) and pressure swing adsorption to extract pure hydrogen from the gaseous mixture [5]. There are several alternatives for hydrogen production. To name a few, electrolysis of water has been known as a promising option besides steam-methane reforming as scientists keep exploring its potential by testing different electrolytes and membranes. Second, dark fermentation offers a pathway to produce hydrogen from biomass, which utilizes groups of anaerobic bacteria to decompose carbohydrates in absence of light and oxygen [6]. Current research aims to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and uses of fossil fuels (methane as feedstock, others as fuels to achieve high reaction temperature) to better align with green chemistry. Can We Do Better? With proper design regarding equi l ibr ium and rate of react ion, the Haber process has expanded food productions by addressing crops’ needs for nitrogen, thus preventing famine. It is amazing that the original Haber process is sti l l relevant and used nowadays. Despite its immense contribution to agriculture, the Haber process i s energy demanding and rel ies on the use of fossi l fuels, being responsible for 1.4% of global carbon dioxide emissions plus 1% of global energy consumption [7]. This calls for modern adaptations to opt imi ze condi t ions and catalysts to ensure the reaction is compatible with the goal of sustainable development.