The decarbonisation acceleration
The fertilizer industry is playing an active role in pursuing a net-zero future. In its 2022 Sustainability Report, the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) singled out continued efforts by its global membership of more than 450 members to contribute to the sustainability of the earth, and leave the ecosystems from which they draw natural resources as healthy as when they found them.
In fact, these efforts are already being evidenced at many stages of the production process, notably the cooling stage where the combination of different technologies is unlocking many new sustainability-focused opportunities.
In the September 2023 issue of World Fertilizer Magazine, Igor Makarenko and Gerald Marinitsch of Solex Thermal Science focus on the energy upcycling opportunities being realized through plate-based moving bed heat exchangers (MBHEs). They point to examples of recovered heat being used to pre-heat air for for combustion systems that are used to generate the needed heat to operate equipment; or being used to provide a trim drying process that allows fertilizer producers to better meet product quality and process efficiency targets.
Of note, they introduce the additional concept of utilizing otherwise wasted energy by combining MBHEs with industrial heat pumps that can bring a waste heat source to higher temperature levels where it can then be used.
"By combining an MBHE and industrial heat pump, fertilizer producers can easily mitigate the wasteful practice of sending cooling water to the cooling tower and ‘blowing’ it to ambient, instead, upcycling the heat from that water to be used in that or another process," write Makarenko and Marinitsch.
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