Fertilizer is a substance added to soil to improve plants’ growth and yield. First used by ancient farmers, fertilizer technology developed significantly as the chemical needs of growing plants were discovered. Modern synthetic fertilizers are composed mainly of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium compounds with secondary nutrients added.
The Importance of Fertilizer
Over half of the world’s food supply depends on fertilizer. The importance of excellent fertilizer production, storage, and transportation continues to grow. By supplying crops with the essential nutrients that they need, fertilizers promote the efficient use of land resources and improve overall crop quality and production. The world’s leading producers of non-organic fertilizers are China, India, USA, Russia, Canada, and Brazil. From small farmers to multinational agricultural concerns, anyone in the industry of growing food must turn to fertilizers because these substances contain plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — primary components vital for plant growth.
Fully integrated factories have been designed to produce these compound fertilizers. The raw materials come from many different sources to be chemically engineered into viable nutrients. Depending on the actual composition of the end product, the production process will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. For fertilizer production, the varying non-organic components are blended together. This blending can be achieved through a pipe reactor system or a rotating drum process, resulting in ideal size.
Cooling and Storing
The most important step in fertilizer production is cooling, which is required for proper storage and transportation. Elevated fertilizer temperatures will result in product caking, leading to breakage and a lower-valued end product. Naturally, fertilizers attract and absorb moisture from the surrounding air. Moisture transferred between the product and air will cause increased humidity in the surrounding air, leading to condensation and product caking. To prevent this reaction, cooling the product to an ideal temperature for storage and transport is extremely important and will lead to a higher quality end product.
Fortunately, there are manufactures like Solex Thermal that have created an innovative technology that maintains the integrity of the fertilizer during production. Check their site today to find updates in heat exchanger technology your business can use such as how their cooling system uses vertically stacked plates within a modular design to cool fertilizer granules through conduction. The product passes through as water cools the material. Air is not used in this process, preventing contamination and degradation of the final product.
Solex heat exchangers ensure efficient thermal performance. The unit is designed with long-term operation in mind — and without the need for regular cleaning. Units are custom-designed to take in to account:
- Type of fertilizer
- Necessary thermal performance
- Ambient local conditions
- Water temperatures
- Optimum purge air flow rate and
- Optimum dewpoint which prevents condensation
By eliminating air cooling methods, this innovative technology has contributed to a superior end product and a 90% decrease in energy consumption.
In big agriculture, you want a company that brings at least 25 years of experience with over 150 fertilizer reference plants from a wide range of climates. Processes like those from Solex result in lower installation costs, minimal maintenance, and a decrease in manufacturers’ carbon footprint.