Developments in Fertilizer Technology and Application Techniques
This material provides an overview of the National Fertilizer Development Center (NFDC), a key Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) program dedicated to fertilizer research and development. Established in 1933, TVA aimed to foster the growth of the Tennessee Valley region and promote public-private cooperation in developmental programs. The NFDC, located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is the nation's only comprehensive fertilizer research and development program. The NFDC's primary objectives are to generate new technologies and products related to fertilizers, improve fertilizer use efficiency, and prevent environmental damage caused by fertilizer production and application. The center conducts basic research, developmental activities, and national technology transfer programs in collaboration with the fertilizer industry, land-grant universities, and farmers. It has the necessary facilities to develop and test new technologies, including laboratories, pilot plants, prototype production facilities, and greenhouses. The paper also highlights several recent and ongoing developments in fertilizer manufacturing. One notable innovation is the production of urea-nitric phosphate (UNP), a solid fertilizer with potential economic advantages over traditional methods. The NFDC's falling curtain-evaporative cooling process is also discussed, enabling urea granulation with superior product quality and low energy consumption. Additionally, the use of calcium lignosulfonate as a conditioning agent for granular urea, replacing formaldehyde, is explored due to its environmental safety and cost-effectiveness. The material further outlines advancements in sulfur-coated urea, nitrogen-sulfur fluid fertilizers, and phosphate-based products, including ammonium polyphosphate and urea phosphate. It highlights the NFDC's efforts to develop cost-effective fertilizers while considering environmental concerns and using lower-grade phosphate ores. It concludes by discussing recent progress in fertilizer application technology, including automatic rate controllers and fuel efficiency improvements in custom application equipment.
Phosphorus, Fertilizer technology