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F E R T I L I Z E R  I N D U S T R Y  L E C T U R E 1
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F E R T I L I Z E R I N D U S T R Y L E C T U R E 1



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    • Fertilizers are composed of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds. They also contain trace elements that improve the growth of plants.
    • Plants use nitrogen in the synthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, and hormones.
    • Plants also need phosphorus, a component of nucleic acids, phospholipids, and several proteins.
    • Potassium is another major substance that plants get from the soil. It is used in protein synthesis and other key plant processes.
    • Early scientists such as Francis Bacon and Johann Glauber describe the beneficial effects of the addition of saltpeter to soil.
    • Glauber developed the first complete mineral fertilizer, which was a mixture of saltpeter, lime, phosphoric acid, nitrogen, and potash.
    • A patent issued to Sir John Lawes, first outlined a method for producing a form of phosphate that was an effective fertilizer.
  • 3. The Manufacturing Process Nitrogen fertilizers
    • Ammonia can be synthesized from in-expensive raw materials.
    • Natural gas and steam are pumped into a large vessel.
    • Next, air is pumped into the system, and oxygen is removed by the burning of natural gas and steam.
    • This leaves primarily nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide.
    • The carbon dioxide is removed and ammonia is produced by introducing an electric current into the system.
    • Catalysts such as magnetite (Fe 3 O 4 ) have been used to improve the speed and efficiency of ammonia synthesis.
  • 4. The NPK Manufacturing Process Nitrogen fertilizers (contd.)
    • 2) Nitric acid:
    • Produced by first mixing ammonia and air in a tank.
    • In the presence of a catalyst, a reaction occurs which converts the ammonia to nitric oxide.
    • The nitric oxide is further reacted in the presence of water to produce nitric acid.
    • 3) Ammonium nitrate:
    • Nitric acid and ammonia are used to make ammonium nitrate.
    • It is a good fertilizer component because it has a high concentration of nitrogen.
    • The two materials are mixed together in a tank and a neutralization reaction occurs, producing ammonium nitrate.
    • This can be granulated and blended with the other fertilizer components.
  • 5. The NPK Manufacturing Process Phosphatic fertilizer:
    • To isolate phosphorus from phosphate rock, it is treated with sulfuric acid, producing phosphoric acid.
    • Some of this material is reacted further with sulfuric acid and nitric acid to produce a triple superphosphate, an excellent source of phosphorous in solid form.
    • 2) Ammonium phosphate:
    • Some of the phosphoric acid is also reacted with ammonia in a separate tank.
    • This reaction results in ammonium phosphate, another good primary fertilizer.
    1) Superphosphate:
  • 6. The NPK Manufacturing Process
    • Granulating and Blending:
    • To produce fertilizer in the most usable form, each of the different compounds, ammonium nitrate, potassium chloride, ammonium phosphate, and triple superphosphate are granulated and blended together.
    • The solid materials are placed into a rotating drum which has an inclined axis. As the drum rotates, pieces of the solid fertilizer take on small spherical shapes.
    • They are passed through a screen that separates out adequately sized particles.
    • A coating of inert dust is then applied to the particles, keeping each one discrete and inhibiting moisture retention.
    • Finally, the particles are dried, completing the granulation process.
    • The blending is done in a large mixing drum that rotates a specific number of turns to produce the best mixture possible.
    • After mixing, the fertilizer is emptied onto a conveyor belt, which transports it to the bagging machine.
    Composite fertilizer manufacture:
  • 7. The NPK Manufacturing Process
    • Bagging:
    • Fertilizers are typically supplied to farmers in large bags.
    • To fill these bags the fertilizer is first delivered into a large hopper.
    • An appropriate amount is released from the hopper into a bag that is held open by a clamping device.
    • The bag is on a vibrating surface, which allows better packing.
    • When filling is complete, the bag is transported upright to a machine that seals it closed.
    • The bag is then conveyored to a palletizer, which stacks multiple bags, readying them for shipment to distributors and eventually to farmers.
  • 8. AMMONIA
    • Uses:
    • 85% of ammonia production is used for nitrogen fertilizers
    • 40% of ammonia produced is used in urea production
    • Other solid nitrogen fertilizers are ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulfate and ammonium phosphates.
    • Synthesis:
    • Difficult to synthesize using Nitrogen from air due to the high BDE, IE&EA of Nitrogen molecule is very high.
    • N 2 +3H 2 ↔ 2NH 3 ∆H = -91.444 kJ/mol
    • Temperature is crucial parameter
  • 9. Ammonia (mol%) in equilibrium synthesis gas; H 2 /N 2 =3mol/mol
    • Reactor design in ammonia synthesis is critical since temperature control is crucial. Methods applied to achieve this are:
    • Quench reactors- Cold feed gas is added at different heights in the reactor.
    • The heat produced is removed between the catalyst beds by heat exchangers. Hence, heat is removed at the highest possible temperature.
  • 11. ICI quench reactor Temperature-Concentration profile
  • 12. Kellogg a) Vertical (left fig.) b) Horizontal (right fig.) quench reactors
  • 13. Haldor Topsoe radial flow reactors
  • 14. Multi-bed converter with indirect cooling; (a) catalyst, (b) feed-effluent heat exchanger, (c) cold bypass, (f) product.
  • 15. Integrated Ammonia Plant
  • 16. Specific energy requirements of various ammonia processes *Lower heating value Process GJ (LHV)*/t ammonia Classical Haber-Bosch (coke) 80-90 Reformer pressure 5-10 bar (1953-1955) 47-53 Reformer pressure 30-35 bar (1965-1975) 33-42 Low-energy concepts (1975-1984) 27-33 State of the art (since 1991) 24-26