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FERTILIZER MANUFACTURE AND THE HAZARDS

What is fertilizer? Fertilizers are essential plant nutrients that are applied to a crop to achieve optimal yield and quality. Nutrients are classified into three sub-groups based on plant growth needs. These are: Macro or primary nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) Major or secondary nutrients: calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S) Micro nutrients or trace elements: chlorine (Cl), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), boron (B), selenium (Se), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo) etc.
Nitrogen is the main driver of yield

Three main nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Nitrogen (N), the main constituent of proteins, is essential for growth and development in plants. Supply of nitrogen determines a plants growth, vigour, colour and yield. Phosphorus (P) is vital for adequate root development and helps the plant resist drought. Phosphorus is also important for plant growth and development, such as the ripening of seed and fruit. Potassium (K) is central to the translocation of photosynthates within plants, and for high-yielding crops. Potassium helps improve crop resistance to lodging, disease and drought. In addition to the three primary nutrients, the secondary nutrients sulphur, magnesium and calcium are required for optimum crop growth. Calcium is particularly important for the yield, quality and storage capacity of highvalue crops such as fruit and vegetables.

Among the major plant nutrients, nitrogen is most important for higher crop yields Nitrogen fertilizers are produced in many countries, reflecting the wide availability of key raw materials - natural gas and air, needed for its production on an industrial scale. Nitrate is immediately and easily taken up by plants Ammonia (NH3) is the basis for all nitrogen fertilizers and it contains the highest amount of nitrogen (82%). Ammonia can be applied directly to the soil, but for several reasons, including environmental, it is common to further process ammonia into, e.g., urea or nitrates before application. If ammonia is applied directly to the soil, it will be converted to ammonium (NH4) and nitrate before plants can use it as a source of nitrogen. While ammonium and nitrate are readily available to plants, urea first needs to be transformed to ammonium and then to nitrate.

Inorganic Nitrogen Fertilizers


Created through Haber-Bosch process Combine N2 and H2 under high temperature and pressure to create NH3 gas Anhydrous ammonia will boil & volatilize under normal atmospheric conditions Compression and refrigeration turn it to liquid Applied by injection into to soil to minimize losses into the air

N+3H

2NH

Production of Ammonium Nitrate


The processes involved in the production of ammonium nitrate in industry, although chemically simple, are technologically challenging. The acid-base reaction of AMMONIA with NITRIC ACID gives a solution of AMMONIUM NITRATE.

NH+HNONH4NO

FEED-STOCK FOR AMMONIA


Natural Gas is the principal feed-stock for Ammonia Production. Natural Gas is classified as ASSOCIATED or NON-ASSOCIATED. Associated gas occurs with crude oil: it is liberated from crude oil when the pressure is released from the oil-gas separator plant. Since methane is the most volatile, it can be released at relatively high pressure. By releasing successively at lower pressures, a separation can be made in which methane is released first, ethane, butane and propane, are collected separately. The term Natural Gas is usually refers to the fraction that contains mostly METHANE with only small percentage of ethane and higher hydrocarbons. For the use of Ammonia Feed-stock methane is preferable to the higher hydrocarbons, because all carbon in the feed-stock is converted to carbon dioxide or monoxide, which must be removed from the ammonia synthesis gas.

HAZARDS OF AMMONIUM NITRATE


FLAMMABILITY=0 REACTIVITY=3

HEALTH=2

SPECIAL HAZARD-OXIDIZER

Ammonium nitrate has a melting point of 170C and decomposes above 210C. It is not in itself combustible but, as it is an oxidizing agent, it can assist other materials to burn, even if air is excluded. Ammonium nitrate will not explode due to the friction and impact found in normal handling, but it can be detonated under heat and confinement or severe shock. For example, in a fire, pools of molten ammonium nitrate may be formed and if the molten mass becomes confined (e.g. in drains, pipes, plant or machinery) it could explode, particularly if it becomes contaminated.