The premise here follows a patent that is considered by a number of people to be either inaccurate or misleading. It covers the preparation of hydrazine by the action of nickel, iron, manganese or another transition metal powder on urea. The metal acting catalytically as such:
H2NCONH2 --(Ni)--> H2NNH2 + CO
Nickel carbonyl being an unnamed intermediate product. During my experimentation with this method I first tried reacting nickel turnings and such obtained by drilling and sawing nickel manually with the urea. This was accomplished on a test tube scale at high temperature. And although the urea was bubbling for reaching its decomposition temperature I got no noticeable trace of hydrazine. Another attempt was made, this time by preparing nickel powder to use by pyrolyzing nickel oxylate and reacting this with the urea without access to air which is shown to inhibit the formation of nickel carbonyl. The result was a blue mess shown above where some nickle salts must have been formed. However no hydrazine was measured yet again. Another possible method of action would be to use a 'beer keg' and fill it with urea and balls of nickel and nickel rod and powder and heat this to distill hydrazine. Lots of urea and lots of nickel may well give results with this method but up to now it's been fruitless.