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Safer ammonium-nitrate-based fertilizer

Honeywell Announces that it has patented a new technology to develop a highly effective, safer ammonium-nitrate-based fertilizer with a significantly lower explosive potential.

The new fertilizer fuses ammonium sulfate with ammonium nitrate, providing both nitrogen and sulfur needed for plant nutrition as well as enhanced safety, quality and storage characteristics, the company reports.

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

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.

The company hopes to have limited quantities for sale in certain regions in 2009 and plans to market the material as Sulf-N 26 fertilizer. Honeywell intends to manufacture and sell the product in conjunction with partners through its existing ammonium sulfate distribution channels. The company also is looking at opportunities for other manufacturers to license the technology globally.

Producers will benefit from a fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and sulfur without the added handling and regulation associated with current ammonium nitrate fertilizer. It is expected to be priced at a premium on a nitrogen basis.

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