Low-carbon fertilizer cooling
Widespread sustainability commitments by producers and users in the fertilizer industry are creating trickle-down effects within the entire supply chain and, notably, giving technology partners opportunities to participate in innovation at all points along the production process.
In the November/December 2021 issue of World Fertilizer magazine, Igor Makarenko, Global Director, Fertilizers with Solex Thermal Science discusses why moving bed heat exchangers that rely on vertical plate technology to indirectly cool fertilizer, has emerged as a more sustainable and, in turn, standard solution when compared to direct-contact alternatives.
As part of his discussion, Makarenko focus on two main areas as to why:
Reduced energy consumption: Vertical plate technology can drastically cut energy consumption through a stacked-plate design that cools fertilizer particles through conduction instead of convection. By not relying on air during the fertilizer cooling process, the energy required with vertical plate technology is significantly less than direct-contact alternatives. Estimates peg that difference at upward of four to five kWh/tonne of fertilizer cooled compared to a fluid bed system.
Near-zero emissions: With vertical plate technology, emissions, dust and odours are not significant because air is not used as a cooling media. Instead, fluids flow counter-currently through the plates, thereby never coming into contact with the product. Research by Solex shows that the indirect method of cooling fertilizer emits just 0.42 kilograms of CO2 emissions per 1 kWh – an estimated eight times less than comparable direct-contact cooling technologies.
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