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AFA preview: 40 years serving the fertilizer community

Summary

The Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) was founded in March 1975 and this year celebrates 40 years of success in promoting the sustainable use of fertilizers – essential food for crops in order to help them grow better to provide food, feed and fibre for mankind. From a modest beginning, the AFA forum has grown into a highly-esteemed event, which can be a source of great satisfaction and honour to its members. Their committed efforts have been crowned with resounding success, and the Arab World can be proud of its prominent role in global fertilizer markets. It accounts for 70% of world phosphate rock reserves and around one-third of the world urea market.

Abstract

Mohamed A. Zain, AFA Secretary General said, “Convening the 21st AFA Annual Forum coincides with commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Arab Fertilizer Association. We would thus like to honourably highlight our achievements since laying down our foundations in 1975, reflected in a clear and developed vision and strategy. AFA seeks the service of its Arab and international member companies, the development of the fertilizer industry and agriculture and the contribution to international endeavours to bridge the food gap and achieve international food security. “This is being carried out in the light of overwhelming world challenges and changes, namely rising poverty rates and unemployment, declines in rainfall, the spread of drought in a number of countries, shortages in energy resources, as well as the threat of hunger. The number of hungry people is reaching one billion across the world, while the world population will reach nearly 8 billion by 2030. All these factors present major challenges for the fertilizer industry, leading to a rise in demand for food and as a result necessitating the provision of the required amount of fertilizers and related materials. This issue undoubtedly was and will be surmounted by making use of the capacities added to the commercial production in 2012/13 in a number of Arab countries, including Qatar, Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and by the additional capacities expected by 2020. It is noteworthy that the Arab countries contributed with a quarter of the world’s production of phosphate rock and more than half of the rock traded, at nearly 15.4 million tonnes. Arab countries also provided 35% of the urea traded internationally, at around 15 million tonnes, 76% of DAP, amounting to 6.6 million tonnes, 51% of TSP and 6% of potash export volumes. Keywords: Arab region, Arab world, AFA, Arab Fertilizer Association, Arab Gulf, Conference, Forum, Trade, Exports Project, Capacity, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Ammonia, Urea Phosphates DAP TSP OCP

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Central Asia: New capacities in the FSU republics

Summary

We outline the projects that will bring the Asian republics of the Former Soviet Union into greater prominence.

Abstract

Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the region has comprised five independent republics with a total population of 66.5 million, namely Kazakhstan (population 17.9 million), Krygyzstan (5.8 million), Tajikistan (8.0 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million) and Uzbekistan (30.2 million). Landlocked Kazakhstan extends across both sides of the Ural River, ranging between the Caspian Sea to the Altay Mountains and from the plains of Western Siberia. The country’s economy has been driven by rising oil output and is the largest in Central Asia, with an estimated GDP of $243.6 billion in 2013. Energy forms the country’s leading economic sector, enabling Kazakhstan to play a major role in global energy markets. Kazakhstan has a strategic geographical location to influence oil and gas flows from Central Asia to both western and eastern countries. Keywords: Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Energy, Natural gas, Oil, Reserves, Tengiz, Caspian, Kashagan, Ammnageldy, Sulphur, Cotton, Ammonia, Urea, Phosphate, Phosphorus, Phosphoric acid, Kazphosphate, Karatau, MAP, Taraz, Beneficiation, Flotation, Zhambyl, FSU, Resources, Deposit, Chilisai, Potash, Chalkar, Zhilyan, Irrigation, Pipeline, Turkmenhimiya, Garlyk, Project, Investment, Ammofos, Dehkanabad

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The role of iron in fertilisation

Summary

Iron is needed to produce chlorophyll and its deficiency leads to plant chlorosis. We examine how Fe deficiency can be remedied.

Abstract

Iron is necessary for photosynthesis and is present as an enzyme cofactor in plants. Fe deficiency can result in intraveinal chlorosis and necrosis. Iron is not a structural part of chlorophyll but is very much essential for its synthesis. Copper deficiency can be responsible for promoting an iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can occur even when the element is abundant in the soil. The soil’s reduction-oxidation status and pH determine their availability. The lowest availability occurs is well-aerated, alkaline soils. In most cases, plant Fe deficiency is not due to the lack of iron in the soil, but due to soil conditions that reduce its plant availability, such as: l High soil pH l Low soil oxygen levels caused by either soil compactions or waterlogging l Prolonged periods of excessive soil moisture l High temperatures l High soil P, Cu, Mn and Zn levels. Keywords: Fe, Deficiency, pH, ferrous, ferric, ion, cation, calcium moisture, solubility, bicarbonates, chlorosis, oxidise, chelate, nitrate, rice, EDTA, DTPA, EDDHA, Oxide, Sulphate Foliar

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Optimising feed quality in ammonia plants

Summary

Upgrades and revamps can result in substantial savings in ammonia plant operating costs. One key area in which savings can be made is by optimising the quality of the feedstock through enhancements in catalyst technology. We assess recent developments in this field.

Abstract

A synthesis gas with a 3:1 final H2:N2 mole ratio is required for the synthesis of ammonia. This syngas is generated by steam reforming of natural gas under pressure. Sulphur compounds in the feed gas have to be removed before the reforming process. The basic reactions involved in the steam reforming of methane, which is the main constituent of natural gas, are represented by the following reactions: CH4 + H2O → CO + 3H2 and CO + H2O → CO2 + H2 The required stoichiometric hydrogen-to-nitrogen ratio is achieved by introducing air into the process. This is typically done by splitting the reforming into two stages: l Primary reforming l Secondary reforming. In primary reforming, the natural gas is reformed with steam in furnace tubes packed with catalysts. Natural gas burners in the furnace radiation box supply the intense heat needed for the endothermic reaction. The reaction is controlled to achieve only a partial conversion, leaving approximately 14% methane in the effluent gas (dry basis) at temperatures of approximately 750 to 800°C. Keywords: Ammonia, Feedstock, Gas, Compounds, Sulphur, Reforming, Catalyst, Conversion, Effluent, Reformer, Syngas, Purification, CO2, Absorption, Methanation, Synthesis, Chlorine, Carbon, Steam, Hydrogenation, Sulphide, Hydrogenolysis, CoMo, NiMo, H2S, ATE, HDS, Conversion, Removal, ZnO, Haldor Topsøe, Johnson Matthey, Clariant, Clarification, Cryogenic, Purge

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Minimising fertilizer losses in transportation, handling and storage

Summary

Technological developments that ensure the integrity of the fertilizer granule between manufacture and application.

Abstract

Fertilizers are manufactured to very high quality standards but are at risk of degradation and other hazards throughout the manufacturing, handling, storage and distribution chain. This in turn may affect the evenness, cost and effectiveness of the fertilizer application. Organisations such as Fertilizers Europe, Fertilizer Australia and CSIRO have established codes of practice that seek to eliminate as far as possible these hazards. The nutrient content, its chemical form and other factors need to be taken into account to ensure optimal performance. However, inappropriate storage and handling can lead to a deterioration in physical quality and performance as a nutrient input. The physical quality of fertilizers depends on: l The physical properties of the products from production l Storage facilities and the climatic storage conditions l Stresses in the handling chain. Keywords: Granule, Handling, Storage, Degradation, Hygroscopicity, Caking, Size distribution, Segregation, Fines, Dust, Bridging, CRH, Humidity, Prill, Abrasion, Moisture, Coating, Anti-caking, Agents, Oils, Thermoplastic, Surfactants, Polymer, Additives, Crushing, Thermocycling, Condensation, Crystallisation, Blending, Granulation, Inhibitor, Flocculants

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Potash: Ukraine's hopes for self-sufficiency

Summary

Although Ukraine is best known as a world-ranking producer and exporter of ammonia and urea, the country also has a significant potash resource. Eugene Gerden outlines the latest plans to revive Ukrainian potash production.

Abstract

UkrLandFarming, one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural holdings and owned by Ukrainian billionaire Oleg Bakhmatyuk, plans to invest up to $1 billion to establish a potash mine and processing facility near Stebnyk, in the Lviv area of western Ukraine. The property is currently in the hands of Polimineral, a subsidiary of UkrLandFarming. Total potash reserves are estimated at 1.1 billion tonnes. According to the plans of Oleg Bakhmatyuk, production capacity of the new facility will initially be 600,000 t/a of potash fertilizers, rising to 1 million t/a during the subsequent years. Keywords: Potash, Reserves, Kainite, Ore, Potassium, Deposit, Salts, Seams, Carnallite, Langbeinite

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Potash: A boom in demand prompts Latin American projects

Summary

The demand for potash in Latin America is being spurred as new lands are brought into cultivation, notably for soybeans in Brazil and Argentina. The region produces potassium chloride, potassium sulphate and secondary potassium nitrate, with indigenous supply currently limited to Brazil and Chile. We assess the medium-term prospects for demand and new capacity.

Abstract

The demand for potash has surged in Latin America, reflecting the rapid increase in crop production, expansion of cropping areas with unfavourable soils and large nutrient exports with cereal and oilseed shipments. The share of soybean and sugarcane (including for the downstream production of biofuels) explains the high proportion of the K nutrient in overall N:P:K application ratios. The recent average growth in potash consumption of between 4-5%/year is expected to be sustained in the medium term. Soybean, which has a particularly high requirement for the K nutrient, has enjoyed a boom in production, buoyed by firm market prices. Larger planted areas have further boosted soybean production. In 2013/14, soybean output is estimated to have increased by 10% in Argentina and 7% in Brazil and is forecast to rise by a further 4% in Brazil in 2014/15. (Medium-Term Outlook for World Agriculture and Fertilizer Demand, Patrick Heffer, IFA [May 2014].) Keywords: Potassium, Potash, Soybean, Sugarcane, Project, Forecast, Chloride, Sulphate, Nitrate, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Vale, Taquari-Vassouras, Sergipe, Carnalita, Mendoza, Neuquén, KCl, Rio Colorado, Reserves, Deposit, Minas Gerais, Cerrado, ThermoPOtash, Manaus, Study, Licence, Exploration, Atacama, NI 43-101

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Removing impurities from phosphoric acid

Summary

The wet process for phosphoric acid production yields an acid that contains several organic as well as mineral impurities. The technologies for removing these impurities are assessed.

Abstract

As the average P2O5 content of phosphate rock has diminished in many producing regions, downstream producers have faced ever-increasing problems with the minor element content of the phosphoric acid. These elements mainly comprise iron, magnesium and aluminium. Removal of magnesium has received the most attention but the reduction and/or elimination of any of the three main impurity elements would greatly benefit the phosphate industry by enabling it to produce on-grade DAP without having to utilise other additives, such as supplementary urea. Other metallic impurities include sodium, as sodium fluorosilicate – a by-product of the production of phosphoric acid – chromium and fluorine. Iron (Fe) and aluminium (Al) are found usually in the form of oxides and silicates in phosphates and impact on the performance of the industrial processing and manufacture of phosphate fertilizers. Al is often associated with Fe. The detrimental effect of these impurities occurs in various stages of the phosphoric acid manufacturing process. These impurities R2O3 (Al2O3 and Fe2O3) behave almost in the same way in the acid by increasing its density and viscosity by passage of 75-90% in the acid. (Various Methods Used for the Treatment of Wet Phosphoric Acid, H. Omri and N.H. Batis, University of Carthage, Tunisia [July 2013].) Keywords: Phosphoric acid, Magnesium, Iron, Aluminium, DAP, Sodium, Fluorosilicate, Oxides, Mg, F, Fluoride, Silica, Fluorosilicic, FIPR, Magnetism, Magnetic, Separation, Paramagnetic, Calcium, CaSO4, Scale, Solubility, Removal, Precipation, WPA, Chelating, Phosphonate, Sludge, Purification, Adsorption, Solvents Flotation, Crystals

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