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The current market environment is challenging for fertilizer producers, as low fertilizer prices create a hurdle for financing and thus implementation of large fertilizer plants. In addition, environmental regulators in particularly America, Europe and China are pushing for more sustainable production of fertilizers, insisting fertilizer producers to contribute their share. However, the difficult market conditions also create opportunities for those who look beyond the status quo.

An example that has found its way is the small scale plant for fertilizer production. Small scale fertilizer production can utilize existing conventional sources such as (small) gas reserves, associated gas and flare gas from oil production. However, it also creates the possibility to use sustainable bio based feedstock and Refuse-Derived Fuel from waste.

Small scale fertilizer production is focused on utilizing deficiencies in distribution of smaller quantities of inputs and/or products, meeting local demand for common nitrogen based fertilizers, extended with production of specialty fertilizers for specific local soil and crop requirements. An example is the use of Stamicarbon’s state-of-the-art small scale urea design, which consists of a unit that is capable to produce AdBlue®/DEF, urea for melamine, enriched urea, UAN and suitable for direct application of coated urea with e.g. controlled release coating.

The unit design originates from Stamicarbon’s designs used until the seventies and is upgraded to a new type of small scale fertilizer plant capable to produce a product mix that can be adjusted to meet specific local requirements with maximized output value, thereby maintaining a competitive position towards imported product and large scale producers.