What Is Ammonia Used For?
Ammonia is commonly utilized in the agriculture industry as fertilizer. In fact, the ammonia produced for use as fertilizer accounts for about 80% of all ammonia industrially manufactured. This versatile substance may also be employed as a refrigerant gas or be used to purify water. Additionally, ammonia is often used in the manufacturing processes of a number of different materials, including plastics, fabrics, pesticides, dyes, and other chemicals.
From its gaseous state, ammonia can be easily compressed to form a clear and colorless liquid. In order to transport ammonia for industrial use, pressure is usually applied to create a liquid, and then this is shipped in steel cylinders.
Why Does Ammonia Need to Be Heated?
While being transported and stored in specialized steel cylinders, liquid ammonia is kept at about -30°F (-34.4°C) . Before ammonia can be loaded into agricultural trucks for distribution and use as fertilizer, the ammonia must be heated to about +40° F (4.4°C).
Why Is Reliable, Consistent Ammonia Heating So Important?
Heating ammonia is critical for ensuring effective use in the agriculture sector. Since there are only two growing seasons every year, there is a short window of time to load and distribute ammonia. During this period, high reliability is imperative; typically, a great deal of preparation is done prior to the growing season to ensure the efficient heating and distribution of ammonia.
There are a few common challenges associated with heating ammonia, however, such as low temperatures causing the water in flue gas to condense. This water must be continuously accounted for and removed. Additionally, flow rates may vary depending on how many trucks are being loaded simultaneously, and the heat input, or “flux rate,” must be controlled to avoid vaporization, or “flashing,” of the ammonia. If ammonia is vaporized, it must be returned to storage and recompressed.
Ammonia heating is a delicate, essential process and must be conducted with great care to allow for effective utilization in the agriculture industry.
Sigma Thermal is proud to be a trusted source for streamlined, reliable ammonia heating. To learn more about our ammonia heating services and discuss options for your specific application, request a quote from the team today.