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Formaldehyde-free urea granules

Summary

thyssenkrupp Fertilizer Technology (formerly Uhde Fertilizer Technology, UFT) has developed a new formaldehyde-free urea granulation additive with a performance that is comparable or superior to the benchmark urea formaldehyde and opens up new opportunities for extended applications for the urea product. T. Krawczyk of thyssenkrupp Fertilizer Technology GmbH discusses the health concerns around urea formaldehyde and reports on the development of the new alternative additive.

Abstract

For more than three decades, formaldehyde has been known as a substance that can potentially cause cancer. Recent research confirms what has been suspected by most of its users. Over 80% of today’s urea production, which exceeds 180 million t/a, is used as fertilizer. This fertilizer grade urea, granules and prills, is treated with formaldehyde, mostly applied as urea-formaldehyde precondensates (UF80, UF85). Keywords: urea granulation, additive, formaldehyde free, health concerns, product quality, dust formation, urea demand, fertilizer grade urea, non-fertilizer grade urea, UF resin, DeNOx, AdBlue, diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, thyssenkrupp Fertilizer Technology.

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Introducing urea dry finishing

Summary

L. Postma and M. Gori of Stamicarbon present a novel finishing concept that eliminates dust and ammonia emissions, dramatically reduces utility consumption, halves the biuret content and allows flexibility in size and form of the final urea product.

Abstract

Stamicarbon has an innovation programme in place that aims at facilitating the development of innovations in the field of fertilizers. Urea finishing is one of the key areas. Stamicarbon has already brought a number of innovations that boosted urea finishing operability, reduced operating expenses and cut dust and ammonia emissions down to levels that can be hardly measured, and many other ideas are in the pipeline. Keywords: urea finishing, dust, ammonia emissions, dry finishing, guti, super granule, formaldehyde, granulation, urea solidification, dry flashing, diesel exhaust fluid, DEF, AdBlue, Stamicarbon.

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Rotating equipment integrity and protection

Summary

Steam turbine compressor trains represent critical process bottlenecks for the ammonia industry. Mark Jackson and Stephen McGhehey of FM Global discuss loss prevention engineering solutions as part of a successful risk management strategy to reduce the frequency and severity of a breakdown.

Abstract

Rotating equipment in the ammonia industry creates critical process bottleneck exposures which impact the availability and continuity of operations. A compressor and/or driver (steam turbine, gas turbine, motor) breakdown can result in a production shutdown with extended downtime until the equipment is repaired or replaced and put back into service. This rotating equipment includes synthesis gas, ammonia, air and refrigeration compressor trains. A breakdown of these compressor trains can also result in a loss of containment and release of oil and/or process gases, resulting in a fire and/or explosion, damaging the equipment and building, including adjacent compressor trains. Keywords: ammonia, process safety, rotating equipment, steam turbine, compressor train, risk management, loss prevention, breakdown, process hazard, equipment protection, asset integrity, monitoring, fire hazard, fire, containment, emergency, explosion, detection.

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Worldwide catastrophic urea incident analysis

Summary

Fatima Fertilizer Company Limited has collected data for major incidents in urea plants worldwide for the last 50 years. The root cause for each accident has been analysed and lessons to be learned noted and used to check that suitable safeguards are in place at Fatima Fertilizer. Syed Munawar Zaman of Fatima Fertilizer reports on the data gathered and the excellent safety record achieved at Fatima Fertilizer.

Abstract

Fatima Fertilizer is the largest fertilizer plant in Pakistan. The fertilizer complex is a fully integrated production facility located at Sadiqabad, Pakistan, with facilities to produce two intermediate products (ammonia and nitric acid) and three final products: 500,000 t/a of urea, 450,000 t/a of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and 375,000 t/a of nitro phosphate (NP). Keywords: urea, Urea2000plus,safety performance, catastrophic incident, data analysis, Fatima Fertilizer Company, process safety management, failure, rupture, explosion, ammonia release, leak.

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Stamicarbon launches HSE portal

Summary

Stamicarbon is inviting urea manufacturers to help build a urea incident database that all can benefit from. By sharing experiences the industry can learn from past incidents and near misses to gain a better understanding of the risks within urea production facilities and to improve plant safety. H. Jorritsma of Stamicarbon discusses the importance and potential benefits of the new incident sharing HSE portal.

Abstract

Catastrophic events in process industries are categorised as “low-probability, high-consequence occurrences” and receive a lot of media attention. But history teaches us that even these major events will be forgotten with the passage of time. Effective incident investigation, reporting and follow-up are necessary to achieve a safe operational environment. Incident investigations provide the opportunity to learn from reported incidents and to use this information to take corrective action designed to prevent them from recurring. It is essential to translate learning into design practices and operational practices. Keywords: urea, incidents, database, risk, catastrophic event, incident investigation, lesson learned, near miss, Stamicarbon, accident, HSE portal, safety performance FM Global.

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Plant Manager+ Problem No. 43: Increased dust content of urea granules

Summary

Dust formation in the granulator can adverslely affect stream time. There are several reasons for increased dust in the fluid bed granulator. No formaldehyde or less formaldehyde injection, lower bed level in the granulator, lower concentration of urea melt to the granulator, a higher pressure in atomisation (sprayer) air and a higher pressure in the urea melt header are all factors which can play a role. This roundtable discusses increased dust level and its causes.

Abstract

Fateme Ahangarani from Razi Petrochemical Company, Iran starts the discussion: These days we have a problem in our urea granulation plant and the amount of product urea dust has increased. Which parameters are important for decreasing the dust content? We try to control the concentration of urea formaldehyde at about 0.5 wt-% but the problem still persists. Keywords: urea, granule, urea dust, urea formaldehyde, granulator, fines, caking, storage, drum granulation, fluid bed granulation, Van Bommel Dedusting Technology, VBDT, MAP, DAP.

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China's nitrogen & methanol industries

Summary

China is the world's largest producer of both ammonia and methanol, but while China's nitrogen industry faces overcapacity and rationalisation, methanol continues to be imported in large quantities to feed olefins production.

Abstract

China has come to define most bulk commodity markets, including nitrogen (mainly urea) and methanol, but its position in both markets shows considerable difference as well as similarities. On the nitrogen side, over-production, over-application, and a variety of environmental issues are forcing a consolidation of the sector which will bring major change to China’s nitrogen industry, probably leading to the large volumes of exports seen in recent years falling, while on the methanol side, the ability of methanol to act as an intermediate for the production of fuels and plastics from coal is leading to production and demand continuing to increase at a rapid rate, and probably higher volumes of imports in future. Keywords: OLEFINS, MTO, FUEL, MTG, GASOLINE, DME, DIMETHYL ETHER, DI, METHYL, MTBE, NDRC, ABC, AMMONIUM, BICARBONATE, COAL

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Urea to melamine

Summary

Melamine for resin production is a small but useful diversified product stream for urea producers, and melamine production can offer useful synergies for urea producers as part of an integrated plant.

Abstract

Whereas most urea goes into fertilizer production, it does have a number of industrial and chemical uses as well. In general, the market for ‘technical’ urea is actually growing more quickly than that for agricultural purposes, in areas such as urea solutions used for catalytic reduction of vehicle exhausts (‘Adblue’/DEF), urea-formaldehyde resins, health and beauty products, metal treatment and a variety of other uses. While most of these are separate from the business of producing urea itself, urea conversion into melamine – also mainly used in resins – can offer advantages to urea producers because of the way that the process can be integrated into urea production. Keywords: CASALE, EUROTECNICA, OCI, LURGI, NIIK, BASF, NISSAN, INTEGRATION, INTEGRATE

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Middle East gas and fertilizer sector outlook

Summary

Nelly Mikhaiel, Senior Consultant, and Priyanka Khemka, Consultant, Nexant, look at the Middle East's natural gas industry and its effect on nitrogen fertilizer production.

Abstract

The Middle East is a robust gas consuming region, with fuel use almost doubling between 2005 and 2015 (Figure 1). Despite recent upward price adjustments in several countries in the region, energy prices are still below international levels, especially in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, although they vary substantially across the Middle East. Historically, low domestic prices have incentivised greater gas consumption, and to that end, the Middle East is increasingly dependent on natural gas to fuel new power and desalination plants, to provide competitive feedstock for petrochemical projects and to produce metals. Keywords: SAUDI ARABIA, QATAR, OMAN, IRAQ, IRAN, UAE, KUWAIT, LNG, PIPELINE, NITROGEN, AMMONIA, UREA, MARKET

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Safety incidents

Summary

A look at recent safety incidents affecting the nitrogen industry.

Abstract

In spite of its generally safe operation, the nitrogen industry continues to be plagued by accidents and safety incidents which lead to destruction of property, injury and even loss of life. Foremost among the chemicals of concern to authorities for their potential to cause risk to life are ammonia and ammonium nitrate. Keywords: TIANJIN, TANK, LEAK, AMMONIA, AMMONIUM, NITRATE, AN, FIRE

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