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Published: November 2011
Nitrogen solutions are water solutions of selected nitrogen chemicals that are blended, rather than being the products of chemical reaction. Historically, they have been used almost totally as fertilizers, although some water-based ammonium nitrate slurries are used in certain commercial explosive and blasting agent markets. However, as a result of environmental legislation, use of purified urea solutions has begun and will be the fastest-growing market for nitrogen solutions.
Urea–ammonium nitrate solutions, containing 28–32% nitrogen, account for the bulk of the solutions market. A small but growing amount of ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate solution is also consumed. Fertilizer applications account for the vast majority of consumption. World supply/demand for nitrogen solutions is forecast to grow at an average rate of 2.8% annually during 2011–2016. Nitrogen solutions account for 5.8% of the world nitrogen fertilizer market, but account for approximately 30% of the market in the United States and approximately 9% in Western Europe. They are growing faster than dry nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
The following pie chart shows world consumption of nitrogen solutions:
Nitrogen solution fertilizer use is confined largely to countries that have highly developed agricultural economies; very little consumption occurs in the developing regions of the world. Apparent world consumption of nitrogen solutions has been fluctuating around an upward trend and increased at a rate of about 2% annually during 1994–2011, but really began to increase in 2004, growing at over 4.5% annually during 2003–2011. There was a decline in consumption during the economic downturn in late 2008 and 2009.
World nitrogen fertilizer consumption is projected to grow at a rate of 1.7% annually during 2011–2016. Large increases during 1994–2011 occurred in China and Southwest Asia. With the exception of Western Europe and Japan, all regions are expected to have moderate growth during the forecast period.