Posted on October 25, 2014

Qatar Fertilizer Company (Qafco) and NIIK (a Russian engineering and technology company specialising in urea) have signed a contract for design and supply of a pilot high-speed drum granulation unit (HSDG) to produce various value-added urea products in Qatar, said Qatar Tribune. 

The agreement was signed by Qafco CEO Khalifa A al Sowaidi and Igor Esin, President and CEO of NIIK. Construction activities in the pilot plant are expected to start in the middle of next year and the plant is expected to start production by end of next year. The high-speed drum granulation pilot unit, with a capacity of 2.4 tonnes per day, will allow Qafco to develop various urea-based products by adding sulphur, ammonium sulphate and a diverse range of other micronutrients. The pilot unit is a first step towards developing higher value urea-based fertiliser utilising the efficient asset base of Qafco as largest single site urea producer, as well as utilising the abundant sulphur available in Qatar.

Based on the experience from the pilot unit, actual larger capacity units for producing the specialty urea will be installed. By implementing that, part of the large quantity of sulphur available and now exported from Qatar will be utilised inside Qatar for producing value-added product. The HSDG can be used to diversify the range of fertilisers offered; depending on market requirements the producer can decide what fertiliser is best suited to satisfy market demand and has a higher added value, and can adjust the HSDG accordingly for production of a particular fertiliser blend. The range of applications for the HSDG technology is quasi infinite.

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Commenting on the agreement, Sowaidi said,"The signing of this agreement to set up high-speed drum granulation unit by Qafco comes in line with Qafco strategy to diversify away from commodity urea." He said the initiative is a response to the changing dynamics of global agriculture where the focus is on improved land use based on balanced fertilisation to allow increase of yields and lessening the environmental impact.

The pilot unit and the prospect of producing higher value urea-based fertilisers is unique not only in the Middle East, but even globally, and Qafco is committed to utilise its resources to develop better fertilisers with higher crop yields and lower overall impact on the environment. The granulation unit offers many advantages over the current technology. The plant occupies a smaller footprint due to intensification of the process. This easy to install unit offers low capital and operational cost as well as flexibility.