Published: March 1980
Large scale use of ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer did not take place until the latter part of the 1940s. The large surplus of manufacturing facilities used in World War II to make explosive grade was converted to make fertilizer grade. Aided by improvements in coating, bagging, and handling of ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer industry shifted from the low analysis types (ammonium sulfate and sodium nitrate) to ammonium nitrate.
This report is concerned with modern manufacturing techniques and worldwide production capacities and utilization of high density prilled (fertilizer grade) ammonium nitrate.
Basically there is only one commercial method for producing prilled high density ammonium nitrate and that is by the reaction of ammonia with nitric acid at temperatures above the melting point of the salt, followed by concentration and prilling.
However, there are a number of variations in process techniques in the commercial processes. These process variations are discussed and the design and evaluation of one process (using Stamicarbon technology) is presented.
Appendix E contains the process design and economic evaluation of the dual pressure process or manufacturing 60 wt% nitric acid, which is one of the feed components for the ammonium nitrate process evaluation.
The report was prepared with the aid of the information in patents, technical articles, books, information from engineering construction companies, and material supplied by process licensors. The process evaluations were reviewed with the companies having proprietary interest in the process. However, such review does not imply agreement with SRI's conception of the process. SRI is solely responsible for the designs, evaluations, and any conclusions there from presented in this report.