A nanotechnology climate-tech start-up eliminating emissions from ammonia production has relocated to Milton Park science park in Oxfordshire.

Following £2.3m of seed funding in 2023, Nium has taken up 7,500 sq ft of research and development space to capitalise on growth plans.

Founded in Spring 2022 at Carbon13, Cambridge, Nium’s nanocatalytic solutions were developed by its Chief Technology Officer over two years at the UK synchrotron facility at Harwell, Diamond Light Source.

Nium utilises nanotechnology (manipulating atoms at a very small scale) to decarbonise ammonia production, the planet’s most polluting chemical industrial process. Much of the ammonia used today is made in China and Russia at massive industrial plants burning coal, gas and oil.

The current Haber-Bosch method of creating ammonia, which is used as fertiliser in half of all food produced globally, is over 100 years old. Because 95% of the process is reliant on burning fossil fuels, two tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) are released for every tonne of ammonia produced.

Powered by renewable energy, Nium’s solution takes hydrogen from water and nitrogen from the air to produce green ammonia without the need for fossil fuels, at a far reduced cost. The process gives the ability to locally produce green ammonia, saving time, removing emissions and shortening supply chains.

Easier to transport than hydrogen, green ammonia is also a good alternative energy store and is fast becoming a frontrunner in clean fuel. It is an excellent hydrogen carrier, with nine times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.

Lewis Jenkins, CEO and co-founder at Nium, said: “Nium’s solution for producing green ammonia is innovation born out of necessity, at a fraction of the price and without the pollution from fossil fuels. As an ambitious start-up, we need the space, infrastructure and collaborative environment if we are to scale effectively and deliver a positive impact on the planet.

 Nium joins an increasing number of companies at Milton Park who are focused in the green energy sector, including Tokamak Energy, which is advancing fusion technology, and Nexeon, which is optimising the use of lithium-ion batteries.