Ammonia is a notoriously difficult compound to measure accurately and reliably using standard chemical sampling techniques. The great advantage of the optical laser gas detection technique for quantitative ammonia monitoring is that the optical measurement does not affect the air being sampled – and so a true, undisturbed value for ammonia concentration can be determined. The very high resolution and specificity of the laser method also means that is no interference from other gases in the air (for example, water vapor) – such interferences complicate other optical techniques using IR or UV.
The fertilizer industry has come to appreciate the benefits of laser technology, particularly for detecting leaks and monitoring ambient concentrations of NH3 and HF. Reliable detection of these gases has proven to be especially tricky for traditional electro-chemical gas detectors, with cell saturation, large hysteresis effects and calibration drift being common challenges.
The wide dynamic measurement range of the laser technique enables reliable detection of incipient leaks of both gases, with significant associated benefits. Firstly, potential leak situations can be identified and fixed before they become dangerous. Secondly, there is an economic benefit as costly product losses are limited.
Let us show you the applications were Boreal can provide technical solutions for your fertilizer manufacturing facility.
Boreal’s TDL technology has several benefits for leak detection in fertilizer applications:
- Provides continuous and instantaneous response times and data collection.
- Very reliably delivers accurate readings.
- No interference with other gases and No False Alarms: “It finds exactly what you’re looking for.”
- Ease of data collection and interpretation.
- Minimal Maintenance: checks internal reference cell every minute, robust design, and requires no consumables to operate.
- Low (overall or amortized) cost of ownership (because they can last +20 years) and low operation and maintenance costs.
- Our technology is as close to set, collect, and forget as possible.
Fertilizer Manufacture and Use Applications:
NH3 Environmental Emissions Monitoring in Urea Prilling Towers
Liquid urea is turned into solid form in either granulators or prilling towers. Most urea production in Europe and North America uses granulation, but prilling towers are still favored in many other countries because of lower operating costs. Prilling can produce substantial amounts of urea dust and ammonia off gassing. Boreal has a technical solution to actively monitor the NH3 emissions from the prilling tower.
NH3 Leak Detection in Urea Towers
Ammonia is the primary feedstock in Urea production, so Urea plants also have several continuous and discontinuous NH3 emission sources. A high pressure ammonia pump at the base of the urea tower is a key area of concern for leaks. Piping, valves and safety rupture disks represent other high risk leak sources. It is vital to have an accurate and reliable leak detector that will not be over ranged or destroyed with continued or high exposures of ammonia; Boreal’s solutions fit the bill.
NH3 Monitoring in High Pressure Lined Urea Equipment
It is advised that a leak detection system be used in the active measurement of lined high pressure urea equipment. This will help to ensure preventable catastrophic events to not occur. Access to an integrated engineered solution from a Urea industry experts is available upon request.
Open-Path NH3 Fenceline Monitoring
There are a number of sources in a fertilizer manufacturing facility that NH3 could leak out of. Boreal has developed a superior technological solution to ensure that you’re actively monitoring the ammonia concentration leaving your facility. This also acts as a supplemental monitoring technique to provide confidence that your facility is not unknowingly leaking or losing valuable product.
Open-Path CH4 Monitoring
There are a number of sources in a fertilizer manufacturing facility that CH4 could leak out of. Boreal has developed a superior technological solution to ensure that you’re actively monitoring the methane concentration leaving your facility. This also acts as a supplemental monitoring technique to provide confidence that your facility is not unknowingly leaking or losing valuable natural gas.
Continuous NH3 Safety Monitoring in Production Facilities
Boreal has a number of fixed installation NH3 monitoring solutions to provide asset owners with the piece-of-mind that they are protecting their employees and contactors. Our technology is tailor made for the cost effective fixed position monitoring of NH3 in fertilizer facilities.
Portable Temporary NH3 Safety Monitoring in Production Facilities
Shutdowns, routine maintenance, and process upsets open-up possibilities of exposing workers to NH3, CH4, or HF emissions when there is not sufficient gas detection capabilities. Our open-path measurement methodology is perfect for monitoring small, medium, or large areas with the use of one portable analyzer that cab be set-up and running in minutes.
High Pressure NH3 pumps and compressors
The final step in the Haber-Bosch process involves a high pressure ammonia compressor, having a set of primary and secondary seals. There is always ambient ammonia in the vicinity of this compressor because of bleed past the seals. Ambient levels are typically between 18 – 25 ppm, which will poison electro-chemical sensors but not LOS laser sensors. Reliable ammonia monitoring around the compressor is critical to ensure fast response in the case of primary seal failure. Boreal has the monitoring solution for high pressure pumps and compressors.
Refrigerant NH3 Coolant in Recirculation Compressor
The refrigeration compressor which recirculates NH3 coolant represents another potential leak source. It is vital to monitor the operation of this critical process. Boreal has a suite of products and accessories that can aid in the monitoring of leaking ammonia.
NH3 Safety Monitoring in Storage Facilities
Ammonia is stored in either high pressure spheres or cooled down to below –33C and stored in large tanks. In the event of a warming and/or leaking of a high pressure storage vessel high and potentially dangerous levels NH3 can be released into the atmosphere that can effect your operational personnel or neighboring areas. Boreal has a tailor made solution to ensure accurate and reliable detection of ammonia leaks.
NH3 Safety Monitoring in Loading/Unloading Facilities
NH3 is transported by trucks, railcars or ships to a distribution network of ammonia terminals. There are hundreds of such terminals worldwide. Storage facilities and trans-shipment at terminals provide multiple opportunities for accidental releases of NH3. Laser based perimeter monitoring for an NH3 leak has been implemented at several ammonia storage and terminal operations in North America.
HF emissions monitoring on phosphogypsum piles/stacks
Fluoride emissions from phosphogypsum stacks, piles and associated ponds are comprised of HF and silicon tetrafluoride (SiF4). Several environmental studies have been conducted to assess the ambient concentrations of HF near phosphogypsum stacks. Environmentally conscious phosphate fertilizer companies have used portable laser gas monitors such as described in this paper to monitor levels of HF downwind of phosphogypsum stacks. Permanent fence-line monitoring solutions using laser based open path HF detectors has been commonly adopted because the laser technology is much more robust and easier to operate, than other gas detection methodologies. Boreal’s technology provides more accurate HF data and because the applicable ambient air quality standard was specific to HF.