News from our institute


Insights into research

Video: DLR project SESAM – producing high-purity nitrogen with solar energy (in German)
Is it possible to produce pure nitrogen for agriculture by combining solar heat and air? Absolutely! The current state of the art is to produce nitrogen using cryogenic air separation. However, this releases large amounts of CO₂. An alternative process is thermochemical air separation, which works CO₂-free by using solar heat. In the SESAM project, the DLR Institute of Future Fuels has coupled thermochemical air separation with pressure swing adsorption (PSA) and installed it in a pilot plant. In a two-stage process, the PSA plant produces low-purity nitrogen. Subsequently, most of the residual oxygen is removed in the thermochemical cycle. The solar-generated nitrogen can then be used to produce ammonia-based agricultural fertilisers.