Fertiliser technology

Yara fertilisers incorporate technologies to preserve the quality of the products. These include coating systems and anti-caking agents. It's also important to prevent dust, thermocycling and condensation.

Coating systems

Coating is important for preserving the quality of fertiliser by protecting these against moisture uptake and physical damage under handling. Yara Technology Centre has developed efficient coatings for the various grades to substantially:

  • Reduce water absorption when exposed to humid air 
  • Reduce caking tendency 
  • Reduce dust formation 

In addition, a pigmented coating is often used to give a certain colour to the product. Coating agents used to improve quality of fertilisers are harmless to plants, soil or human beings.

Rate of water absorption of YaraLiva Calcium Nitrate with and without Tropicote

Anti-caking agents

Fertilisers and salt products generally tend to agglomerate during transport and storage. In order to prevent caking, fertilisers are treated with various agents that normally include a surface active compound and a fine inert powder. The surface active compound controls crystal formation such that strong bridges are not formed, the powder reduces the surface contact area.

Preventing dust formation

The amount of dust released from fertiliser products depends on several physical properties like particle strength and shape, ways of handling and the coating system applied.

Preventing thermocycling

Under normal conditions all ammonium nitrate based fertilisers are stable materials. When stored in direct sunlight temperature fluctuations can occur. That will make the fertilisers swell and physically break down.

Photo showing Ammonium nitrate breakdown in a bagThe break down is higher if the product is inadequately stabilised and/or has a high water content. 

Ammonium nitrate occurs in different stable crystalline forms; changing from one to another is accompanied by volume changes. The transition at 32 °C results in density changes and can cause the product to break down into fines if the product is heated or cooled while passing this temperature. 

AN 33.5 and some other products high in ammonium nitrate contain stabilizers that minimize thermocycling.

However, during long periods of storage these products may still degrade if the conditions for thermocycling are favorable. 

Always monitor the climatic conditions, especially where products are stored in bulk.

Preventing condensation

The air can release approximately 10-15 grams of water/m3 per night in a hot and humid climate. This means approximately 90 litres/day or 1,260 litres in two weeks in a small warehouse of 1 000 Mt (30x20x10).

It is important to lead the water outside. In new projects roof insulation is used to reduce temperature variation. Always sheet the product.