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The implications for energy, agriculture and fertilizers

Summary

Biofuels are in vogue. They are seen by some as providing both the assurance of future fuel sufficiency and a solution to global warming. Do these beliefs bear detailed examination? And would a programme to produce biofuels have significant positive or negative implications for such things as land use, agricultural practices, fertilizer consumption, the environment, food availability and cost, and trade. Distinguished consultant Ken Gilbert assesses these issues in this, the first of two articles that review biofuels. In the follow-up article, he will examine two particular biofuels that are in commercial use – biodiesel and ethanol.

Abstract

At present, the world consumes about 430 quad Btu of energy (1 quad = 1015 Btu = 2.931 x 1011 kilowatt hours). By 2010, world consumption could be around 470-480 quad Btu and by 2025, 625-650 quad Btu. A forecast of world energy demand to 2030 made by a consortium of EU research teams came to the following conclusions:

  • World energy demand will increase at about 1.8 %/year over the period 2000-2030.
  • By 2030 more than 50 % of demand will come from developing countries, compared to 40 % at present.
  • World oil production will increase by about 65 % to reach around 120 million barrels/day in 2030.
  • OPEC will account for 60 % of total oil supply in 2030, compared with 40 % in 2000.
  • Gas production will double by 2030.
  • Electricity production will increase steadily at an average rate of 3 %/year.
  • The use of gas and coal in power generation will become more important.
  • Renewable energy sources (with wind power at the fore) will account for 4 % of total energy by 2030.

 

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Bucket elevator retrofits bring double benefits

Summary

Retrofitting bucket elevators for larger capacities also increases reliability, as described by Richard Skroski, Director of Marketing and Training at Rexnord Industries, Inc.

Abstract

IMC Global’s New Wales plant, located near Mulberry, Florida, is one of several fertilizer plants that have increased capacity and improved reliability by retrofitting existing elevators with new buckets and drive components. At the plant, the company replaced the inner workings of three elevators on each of two different product lines with buckets that have more capacity and chain that is engineered for greater reliability.

IMC­­­­­­­­­­­­ Global Inc. is the world’s largest and lowest-cost producer and seller of concentrated phosphates and potash fertilizers, and has several dozen mining and processing operations in the United States and Canada. Its New Wales facility, built in 1975, continues to be the world’s largest plant of its kind, producing millions of tonnes of concentrated phosphates annually for commercial use in domestic and foreign markets.

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Call SGS when you need to be sure

Summary

Cargo inspectors perform a vital role in ensuring the flow of fertilizers from manufacturing plant to the final customer. The Geneva-based company, SGS, enjoys global market leadership and is playing a pro-active role in encouraging the international fertilizer industry to streamline its practices and boost efficiency.

Abstract

From its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, SGS has gained renown as the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification com­pany. SGS is recognised for setting a global benchmark for quality and integrity. The company today operates a network of about 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world and draws on a team of 37,000 em­ployees. It can trace its illustrious pedigree back to 1878, having been originally founded in Rouen as a French grain shipment inspection house. The company was registered in Geneva as Société Générale de Surveillance in 1919 and has been listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange since 1985.

The core services offered by SGS fall into the following categories:

  • Inspection services. SGS inspects and verifies the quantity, weight and quality of traded goods. Inspection typically takes place at transhipment.
  • Testing services. SGS tests product quality and performance against various health, safety and regulatory standards. SGS operates state-of-the-art laboratories on or close to customers’ premises.
  • Certification services. SGS certifies that systems or services meet the requirements of standards set by governments, standardisation bodies (such as ISO 9000) or by SGS customers. SGS also develops and certifies its own standards.

 

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MicroSticker™ improves agronomic efficiencies in Brazil

Summary

ARR-MAZ do Brasil has developed a liquid additive that fixes powdered micronutrients on to the surface of bulk blended NPK fertilizers. This paves the way for the more widespread application of micronutrients in a crucial market, Brazil, as described by John Sinden in the paper he presented at British Sulphur's Fertilizantes Cono Sur Conference at Punta del Este Uruguay (21-23 November 2004).

Abstract

Micronutrients have always been an important factor in efficient and sustainable agriculture. As agriculture has intensified during the past few decades, and as the need increases to harness old, nutrient-poor soils in such regions as the Cerrado in Brazil in order to increase food supplies to maintain the current world population in excess of 6 billion, micronutrient deficiencies have become ever more apparent.

There are many ways of correcting these deficiencies. In his paper, Application of Micronutrients: Pros and Cons of the Different Application Strategies, (IFA International Symposium on Micro­nutrients, New Delhi, February 2004), L. Pulschen of Kemira GrowHow outlined the following application systems:

  • Broadcast
  • Banded
  • Foliar sprays.

The first two methods are limited to soil applications, while soluble compounds and/or chelates can be applied by means of foliar sprays or fertigation. In the case of soil applications, when using the same product to produce the same correction of a deficiency because of the low mobility of the micronutrients in the soil, the application of a banded product is normally less than 50 % of a soil application.

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Tessenderlo Group's double investment

Summary

Tessenderlo Group, the speciality fertilizer and chemical producer, enjoys a significant niche as a leading supplier of potassium sulphate. Buoyant demand for the product has prompted the company to invest in a major increase in capacity, which is now coming on stream, as described here.

Abstract

Strong demand for potassium sulphate has prompted Tessenderlo Group to invest in additional production capacity at its plant in Ham, eastern Belgium, and inaugurate a new K2SO4 facility in northern France. The recent upsurge in demand for potassium sulphate reflects the increasingly widespread adoption of fertigation techniques by farmers around the world, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Fertigation has transformed agriculture in many regions, notably the Cerrado region of Brazil and throughout the Middle East, as it enables growers to make more effective use of scarce irrigation water.

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AFA celebrates its 30th anniversary

Summary

The 11th Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) International Annual Conference will be held in Cairo between 1- 3 February 2005. The meeting will attract over 400 participants among the major fertilizer producers from around the world, as well as feedstock suppliers, international ­organisations, institutions, research ­centres and many others keen to do business in the ever more important region. Meanwhile, there is much to report on the building of new production facilities through the Arab region.

Abstract

The Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) is scheduled to hold its 11th International Annual Fertilizer Conference between 1-3 February 2005. The venue is the Conrad Hotel in Cairo, Egypt. This meeting was first established in March 1975, since when it has become one of the most important events in the annual fertilizer industry calendar. The past 30 years have been one of fundamental change for the Arab Fertilizer Association, but the fundamental principles of the AFA Inter­national Annual Fertilizer Conference remain in place: namely, to provide a forum in which the executives of the major fertilizer producers in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates can meet with major international traders and fertilizer marketing and distribution companies and listen to a programme of authoritative papers on a wide variety of topics of interest to the Arab world and beyond.

Over time, the AFA International Annual Fertilizer Conference has developed and expanded, today attracting representatives from over 40 countries, with delegate numbers exceeding 400 and drawn from a wide range of fertilizer-related fields, ranging from international and regional com­panies, institutions, and research organisations and institutes.

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NIUIF's 85th ­anniversary

Summary

The NIUIF Ya. V. Samoilov Scientific Research Institute for Fertilizers, Insecticides and Fungicides is 85 years old. Three members of the Institute, B.V. Levin, V. I. Souhodolova and V. S. Suschev, describe its work and achievements.

Abstract

On 12 September 2004, the Moscow-based NIUIF institute for research on fertilizers, raw materials, and insecticides and fungicides celebrated its 85th birthday. The Institute was founded in 1919 by order of the Supreme Soviet of the National Economy, and is named after Prof. Ya. V. Samoilov – a distinguished geologist, and the prime force behind the foundation of the Insti­tute. Prof. Samoilov was an authority in the field of raw materials research and became head of the Institute’s mining and geological departments, consolidating the research work on phosphorite deposits that he had pioneered as early as 1908.

Prof. Samoilov can be very much considered the father of the Russian fertilizer industry. When NIUIF was first established, this industry was in its infancy, and it had suffered great depredations in the wake of the First World War, the Soviet Revolution and consequent civil war. Before 1917, Russia had 13 small-scale fertilizer plants, but only three superphosphate plants survived intact when NIUIF was founded. Sulphuric acid production used mainly imported raw materials, the supply of which had been seriously disrupted by the war and revolution. By then, output of fertilizers was confined mainly to single superphosphate (SSP), and totalled an estimated 700 t/a.

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