‘Super’ solution to fertilizer caking
Indirect cooling technology arms producers in battle against product degradation
Author: Jamie Zachary
Caking has long been the kryptonite for fertilizer producers. These antagonistic little crystal bridges – formed from small amounts of salt solutions present in granules – often take place during packaging and storage when not handled properly beforehand.
Consumers have likely seen caking in a bag of store-bought fertilizer – those rock-hard lumps that have formed in the product. For fertilizer producers, however, caking compromises product quality via breakage and handling difficulties, which further translates into a lower selling price.
In the latest issue of World Fertilizer Magazine, Igor Makarenko, Global Director, Fertilizer for Solex Thermal Science, discusses how indirect plate-type heat exchangers are giving fertilizer producers a new weapon in their battle against caking.
Makarenko notes traditional cooling solutions have included fluid bed and rotary drum coolers. Yet both can be energy intensive, emission heavy and costly to operate.
Indirect cooling through plate technology, meanwhile, results in a significant reduction in energy consumption – often more than 90% compared with alternative technologies.
“The production processes in the fertilizer industry are energy-intensive,” says Makarenko. “Even though gas costs represent the largest percentage of production costs, there still exists considerable potential to reduce electrical energy usage in the fertilizer cooling process.
He adds there are also savings in installed capital cost by removing the large air handling systems needed for both fluid bed and rotary coolers, which include chillers, fans, ducts and a scrubber.
In two cases studies presented, both saw substantial energy savings. In the example of a potash plant, the Solex cooler was able to chill 100 tph of crystalline potash from 105 C to 42 C with a total electrical consumption of only 35 kW – representing a 94% reduction in operating costs.
Learn more by reading the full story. For additional information on indirect cooling, visit our Cooling section. For applications within the fertilizer industry, visit Fertilizer & Phosphates for videos and more.
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