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Population expansion, excessive resource utilisation and reclamation of land for settlement have primarily resulted in the loss of nutrient content in ground soil. Owing to this change in composition, it has become impossible to cultivate land for crop without the use of fertilizers*.

*The most well-known is urea, a white crystalline substance, made up of 46% nitrogen.

What is urea?

Also known as carbamide, carbonyldiamine or amino methanamide, Urea is an organic compound with two amides joined by a carbonyl functional group.

In smaller amounts, urea is present in the blood, liver, lymph nodes and serous fluids, and in the waste of fish and many other lower species.

Urea was first produced industrially by the hydration of calcium cyanimide. When combined with carbon dioxide, it resulted in the formation of ammonium carbamate which could then be dehydrated to urea.

AGRICULTURE

  1. Fertilizer: 90% of the urea produced is used as fertilizer. It is added to the soil to provide nitrogen to plants. Low-biuret (less than 0.03%) urea is used as a foliar fertilizer. It dissolves in water and is applied to the leaves of plants that yield fruit, especially citrus.
  2. High nutrient content: Urea’s rich nutrients are essential for metabolism in plants. It helps in the absorption of light during photosynthesis.
  3. Multiple applications: Urea is added to the soil after harvest to help retain its nutrient content. In the soil, it hydrolyses back to ammonia and carbon dioxide. The ammonia is oxidized by the bacteria in soil to nitrate, which can be easily absorbed by plants.

CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

Urea finds application as a raw material in the manufacturing of many important chemicals including:

  1. Various plastics, especially the urea-formaldehyde resins
  2. Adhesives, such as urea-formaldehyde or the urea-melamine-formaldehyde used in marine plywood
  3. Urea nitrate, which is used as an explosive

AUTOMOBILE SYSTEMS

Urea is used in SCR (selective catalytic reduction) and SNCR (selective noncatalytic reduction) to reduce the nitrogen pollutants in exhaust gases from combustion, eg: in power plants and diesel engines.

COMMERCIAL USES

  1. A component of animal feed, providing a relatively cheap source of nitrogen to promote growth
  2. An ingredient in many tooth whitening products
  3. An ingredient in dish soap
  4. An ingredient in some hair conditioners, facial cleansers, bath oils, skin softeners, and lotions
  5. A reactant in some ready-to-use cold compresses for first-aid use, due to the endothermic reaction it creates when mixed with water
  6. As a solubility-enhancing and moisture-retaining additive to dye baths for textile dyeing or printing laboratory uses

DE-ICER

Urea is a safe, non-corrosive fertilizer alternative for de-icing. The chemical is easy to use on runways and walkways as well as on landing gears and other vital parts located on the under-carriage of aircraft that must always be protected from corrosion.

However with compressed air at 160-180 Bar pressure this stainless-steel layer, which generally contains up to 24% chrome, forms a very resistant brownish Cr03 layer which keeps the oxidation and corrosion in equilibrium and protects the inner layer of the reactor from getting corroded.

Passivation air compressors – ELGi Sauer

ELGi Sauer has recently supplied 2 x 100 m3/hr Passivation Air Compressors to 2 Fertilizer projects coming up in the north of India having production capacities of 2200 TPD ammonia and 3850 TPD urea.

ELGi Sauer

The role of compressed air for passivation in urea manufacturing is rather crucial, since the process is continuous and compressor duty cycles are 24/7 at full load.

ELGi Sauer has a range of air compressor models like HURRICANE Series, apt for this process having flow capacities ranging from 22 to 100 m3/hr and pressures from 100 to 400 bar. These compressors are made from special materials to protect them against corrosive atmospheres. These compressors are direct driven, compact, rated for the continuous duty application with low life cycle cost and ease of serviceability.

The ELGi Sauer Compressors Ltd. is a conglomerate between ELGi –India and Sauer Compressors, Germany and comes with expertise& leadership to provide complete engineering solutions with indigenized contents for high pressure air and gas solution and prompt product support.  ELGi Sauer Compressors Ltd. has been providing state-of-the-art products and customized solutions for Defence, Shipping, Industrial and Petro markets in India and neighbouring countries. The successful collaboration between the two leading companies has led to numerous achievements over the years.

Read more about ELGi Sauer’s capabilities.

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