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Fertilizer Storage

13

FFPs Frequently Faced Problems


Fertilizer being highly hygroscopic absorbs moisture from the surrounding air during storage leading to following
problems.
Caking and Lumping
Loss in the fertilizers free flowing properties
Dissolution
Loss in Strength
Crystallization
Loss in physical, nutrient and chemical properties
Danger in explosion of Nitrate Based Fertilizers
Health Hazards due to ammonical fumes of decomposed
hygroscopic fertilizers
Slippery floors due to hardning of the fertilizer on the floor of
the warehouse

General Recommendations
The relative humidity in the Fertilizer Storage Area should be
maintained at 35 5% at about 27C.

Solutions
Through the use of fertilizer in agriculture is seasonal, its production especially in modern fertilizer plant, is
essentially a continuous process. It therefore becomes necessary to store substantial quantities of fertilizer both at
factory site and at warehouse close to the consuming areas to facilitate the timely availability of fertilizer. The
storage of fertiliser for a long period brings about detrimental changes in its characters and measures to overcome
this have to be taken to avoid loss in fertilizer quantity. Most commercial fertilisers especially if there is a high
concentration of nutrients, are hygroscopic and have a high solubility in water. When stored in bulk for long periods,
they are subjected to high humidity and varying atmospheric conditions leading to caking, loss in its properties and
strength.
The fertilizer, when taken out of silos for bagging, is very hot and thus, extremely hygroscopic. It is essential to
control humidity levels in the area during this period for free flow of fertilizer, through auto-bagging machines into
the polythene bag without lumping and caking.
Almost all types of fertilizers are essentially stored at ambient temperature conditions but relative humidity needs to
be controlled at 40%. If the humidity goes above 40%, the prills, being very hygroscopic, absorb moisture causing
them to stick to each other rendering the product useless. Another side effect of high humidity is that in contact with
hydrocarbon, the ammonium nitrate becomes explosive in nature. Hence, it becomes very important that humidity
be kept or held below 40%.

The Solution
To overcome the problems arising out of hygroscopic nature of fertilizers, it is necessary to condition the air inside
the warehouse and storage sites, so that the fertiliser does not absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Bry-Air
Dehumidifiers maintain these conditions with ease regardless of ambient temperature
Dehumidification is essential/ critical in the following areas
The prilling tower low humidity improves the prills
Bulk Storage to protect the prills etc.
Bagging operations for the ease in handling of prills etc.

References Some

Madras Fertilizers Limited, India


KRIBHCO, Surat, India

Modified on: 1st August 2011