Honeywell Develops Safer Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer

Honeywell has developed a patented new technology to produce a highly effective, safer ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer with significantly lower explosive potential.

The new technology has already received SAFETY Act designation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act.

“The unique composition of this new fertilizer makes it extremely difficult to turn into a weapon,” says Qamar Bhatia, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Resins & Chemicals, one of the world’s largest producers of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. “Ammonium nitrate has long been an excellent fertilizer, but this technology makes it safer.”

The new technology fuses ammonium sulfate with ammonium niatrate, providing both nitrogen and sulfur needed for efficient plant nutrition as well as enhanced safety, quality, and storage characteristics. Independent tests using guidelines developed with the U.S. government demonstrated that Honeywell’s new fertilizer is significantly more difficult to use as an explosive. When mixed with fuel oil — a common method of using ammonium nitrate as an explosive — the new ammonium sulfate nitrate fertilizer did not detonate.

Honeywell is conducting pilot plant test production of the new fertilizer to finalize scale-up and engineering for manufacturing, and is also in talks with potential manufacturing partners. The company hopes to have limited quantities for sale in certain regions in 2009 and plans to market it as Sulf-N 26 fertilizer.

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