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Publication > Issue > Articles

Ammonia market developments

Summary

A look at some of the factors shaping merchant ammonia supply, demand and patterns of trade worldwide.

Abstract

In 2016, global ammonia capacity stood at around 218 million t/a, of which around 175 million tonnes of ammonia was actually produced that year. Most ammonia produced is for captive use, particularly in downstream urea, ammonium nitrate, nitric acid or ammonium phosphate plants, and the merchant market remains a small fraction of this – 18.3 million tonnes in 2016, or around 10% of total production. Keywords: CHINA, MOROCCO, PHOSPHATE, DAP, AMMONIUM

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The prospects for Indian urea

Summary

India has unveiled plans to end urea imports by 2022. However, many such pronouncements have come and gone over the years – is this one any more likely to come to fruition?

Abstract

Earlier this year, India’s government announced ambitious plans to end imports of urea within five years. As India is currently the world’s largest importer of urea, and has completed no new urea plants since 1999, this has raised eyebrows in international markets. Can the government achieve its dreams of returning to the kind of self-sufficiency in nitrogen production that India enjoyed in the 1990s? Keywords: AGRICULTURE, TAX, GST, SUBSIDY, NUTRIENT, NBS, NEEM, COATED, COATING, LNG, COAL, GASIFICATION

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Power to ammonia

Summary

Making ammonia from hydrogen generated by electrolysis of water has a long history, and today, coupled with renewable electricity, offers the prospect of a carbon neutral source of ammonia. But can the economics possibly stack up?

Abstract

The history of producing ammonia via hydrogen from electrolysed water is almost as old as the ammonia industry itself. While hydrogen was available from coal gasification, as was used in BASF’s first ammonia plant at Oppau in 1913, it required a secondary water-gas shift reaction to generate sufficient hydrogen for the process. Other pioneers quickly looked into using electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. In 1919, Luigi Casale built the first electrolysis-based ammonia plant at Terni in Italy using his own high-pressure ammonia synthesis process, followed soon after by Norsk Hydro at Rjukan in Norway in 1927, after Hydro signed a licensing agreement with IG Farben for the Haber-Bosch ammonia process. Keywords: ELECTROLYSIS, RENEWABLE, SOLAR, WIND, HYDRO, ELECTRICITY, STORAGE, HYDROGEN, CO2

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Major investments in Russia's nitrogen production

Summary

Eugene Gerden reports on the continuing growth in Russian nitrogen fertilizer production, as SDS-Azot begins work on a new line for production of ammonium nitrate at Kemerovo.

Abstract

The production of nitrogen fertilizers in Russia will significantly increase in the coming years, due to the recently begun expansion of one of country’s largest facilities in the Kemerovo region. This is being carried out by the local SDS-Azot enterprise. SDS – the Russian initials for the Siberian Business Union – has a diversified holding across various industries, including one of the largest coal mining companies in Russia (SDS Coal). It is also one of the largest producers of nitrogen fertilizer in Russia, with assets in Western and Eastern Siberia, including Kemerovo Azot, the Angarsk Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant and AZOT-Service. Keywords: EXPORT, CAPROLACTAM, ROUBLE, RUBLE

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A China first at Henan Jinkai ammonia plant

Summary

M. Rizzi of Casale and Xu Junhong of Henan Jinkai Group provide a short history of Casale ammonia synthesis technology for inert-free loops and its application in the design of the largest single-train inert-free ammonia synthesis loop built and operating to date: the 2,000 t/d Henan Jinkai ammonia plant in Kaifeng, China.

Abstract

The operating conditions in an ammonia synthesis converter are more severe when the synthesis gas is generated by gasification than when it is generated by the more common steam reforming process. The gasification route has to be used in plants fed with heavy feedstocks such as coal. Keywords: ammonia, synthesis loop, inert free, China, Henan Jinkai, Casale, ammonia converter, refrigeration, coal, gasification, coal based ammonia.

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Fertilizer production via the gasification route

Summary

India has abundant sources of coal which can be utilised as a raw material for producing fertilizers. N. Mangukia of Linde Engineering India discusses the benefits of large scale ammonia/urea plants based on the gasification of coal or petcoke for countries like India, which is currently a large importer of fertilizers.

Abstract

World food demand is increasing in conjunction with the increase in world population. Some countries like India are still large importers of fertilizers. The feedstock for producing fertilizers (i.e. natural gas) is either not available in some countries or it is not economically viable to produce fertilizers from costly imported feedstock (e.g. RLNG). Keywords: India, fertilizer, Linde Engineering, ammonia, urea, petcoke, petroleum coke, air separation unit, (ASU), acid gas removal, (AGR), nitrogen wash unit, (NWU), ammonia synthesis, Rectisol.

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Driving methanol plant efficiency

Summary

The gas heated reformer is an alternative to the steam methane reformer in syngas plants, providing a more cost effective, compact and energy efficient unit that minimises environmental impact. M. Janardhanan of Johnson Matthey outlines where the technology has come from and where it is heading to, highlighting the benefits of its use in applications, particularly in Iran where water consumption is very important.

Abstract

Synthesis gas from natural gas has for a long time been generated within a steam methane reformer (SMR), sometimes used in conjunction with an autothermal reformer (ATR). Gas heated reforming (GHR) has promised to revolutionise the generation of synthesis gas for ammonia, methanol and hydrogen for over 25 years by way of replacing the large and expensive reformer with a more cost effective, compact and energy efficient unit that minimises environmental impact. Keywords: Keywords: methanol, environment, gas heated reformer, GHR, Johnson Matthey, Iran, water, syngas, synthesis gas, natural gas, water consumption, cooling tower duty, gas efficiency, cooling tower makeup, demin water, ASU, steam methane reforming, SMR, combined reforming, advanced combined reforming, autothermal reforming, ATR.

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Nitrate plant debottlenecking and modernisation

Summary

Plant assets are the most valuable part of any chemical manufacturing business and should be looked after as carefully as possible. Casale has wide experience of many different types of plants thanks to its revamping activities. J. F. Granger of Casale discusses the latest trends for the modernisation of nitrate plants.

Abstract

Casale’s revamping approach can be applied to nitrates plants, regardless of the original process design. It is therefore possible to modernise existing units to improve their efficiency and increase their capacity such that the revamped plant can compete with the most modern units in terms of reliability, safety and economics of production. Keywords: revamp, nitrate plant, debottlenecking, modernisation, Casale, ammonium nitrate solution, ANS, condensate purification, capacity increase, process condensate quality, granulation, energy consumption, fattening, fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, granulator, prilling, pipe reactor, UAN, DAP, fuel consumption.

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From low cost by-product to premium AS granules

Summary

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) has developed a new fluidised bed granulation process to convert low cost by-product ammonium sulphate solutions into premium grade granules. Jens Mathiak of tkIS, describes the process and reports on the current status of the technology.

Abstract

High-quality fertilizer for optimum plant growth Plant growth depends on the nutrient content of the soil. A balanced distribution of primary and secondary nutrients as well as microorganisms ensures an optimum crop yield. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient, and so is sulphur. Keywords: fluidised bed granulation, ammonium sulphate, AS, premium grade, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solution, tkIS, fertilizer, granulation additive.

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Plant Manager+ Problem no 45: Effect on reactor liner in case of reactor hold up

Summary

In the case of a failure in a urea plant, when the problem is expected to be solved within a short period, the high pressure synthesis section is typically blocked in (referred to in this article as reactor hold up). All input and output streams are closed and the synthesis section remains partly filled with a solution consisting of ammonia, CO2, water, ammonium carbamate and of course urea. Several risks can occur during this blocked in situation: 1) as the temperature slowly reduces crystallisation could occur; 2) active corrosion could start as no fresh oxygen is supplied to the synthesis during blocking in and; 3) an explosive gas mixture could occur as hydrogen and oxygen are present.

Abstract

Sandeep Gochar of GNFC in India initiates a discussion on this topic: I am working in a Saipem technology urea plant. I would like to know what effect keeping the reactor in hold up conditions after a shutdown will have on the reactor liner. Usually Saipem recomm­ends draining the reactor if the shutdown is longer than 48 hours. Keywords: urea plant, failure, synthesis, high pressure, corrosion, crystallisation, reactor hold up, reactor liner, blocking in, CO2 leak, valve, Saipem.

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