Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is increasing production of high-grade aqueous urea solution for urea SCR systems, according to GreenCarCongress.com. The company's plant at Kitakyushu, Japan, has been running at about 20% capacityabout 2 million liters per year. As SCR demand increases, plans are to increase production to 10 million liters in 2008 and reach 50% capacity in 2009.
Japan's demand for high-grade aqueous urea is about 20,000 kiloliters per year, but industry sources expect it to increase to about 600,000 kiloliters in the future.
Need for Higher Production and More Efficient Use of Urea
"The new demands for urea to treat diesel exhausts will make research to improve the efficiency of its use as a fertilizer even more important," says Ramon Lazo de la Vega, IFDC Senior Engineering Specialist. "IFDC works in three main areas to increase the efficiency of urea use: through deep placement of urea briquettes, especially in irrigated rice fields; through controlled-release fertilizers; and through nitrification and urease inhibitors that decrease nitrogen losses to the air through volatization and to groundwater through leaching.
"New urea plants are also being built. For example, two large urea plants are opening in Iran and one each in Egypt, Nigeria, Oman, and Russia."
IFDC's Amit Roy says, "Most basic fertilizer products used todayincluding major improvements of farm-use ureawere developed by the fertilizer program of the U.S.-based Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the 1950s to 1970s when energy seemed cheap. With current manufacturing technology, the energy equivalent of four barrels of oil is used to convert 'free' atmospheric nitrogen to 1 ton of urea.
"The new demands emphasize the need for research to develop a new range of more energy-efficient technologynot only for food but now for use with fuel," Roy says.
|Contact: Dr. Thomas Hargrove|