Veolia to help create soluble fertiliser solution
Veolia Water Technologies will assist in the creation of a soluble fertiliser in the Western Australian outback.
Perth-based Salt Lake Potash is developing the Lake Way potash mining project, aiming to produce 245,000 tons per year of sulfate of potash (K2SO4) from dry salt lake deposits in the Northern Goldfields region.
In order to recover low-cost, high-grade SOP, the production uses solar evaporation to concentrate the hypersaline, potassium-rich brines for salt harvesting.
To further process these solids, Veolia will design and supply two HPD crystallisers: one to grow 32 tons of high-purity potassium sulfate crystals every hour, the other to recycle 54 tons per hour of solids to yield the maximum potassium recovery.
As part of this contract, Veolia provided bench-scale testing at Veolia’s Phillip J. Stewart Technology centre in Plainfield, Illinois (USA). The results validated the feed chemistry, simulated the optimal flowsheet design and confirmed process performance projections that helped to de-risk the project.
To accelerate the project and achieve the delivery schedule, Veolia staged the progress to advance the basic engineering and testing simultaneously. These actions not only optimised capital investments but also lowered operating costs through a system design that minimises fouling and cleaning requirements.
With its HPD technologies tailored to growing fully soluble crystals, Veolia helps global fertiliser producers to optimise recovery operations and the value of its product portfolio with a focus on enhancing environmental sustainability as well as energy and resource efficiencies.
With the rapid growth of a global middle class come shifts in dietary patterns towards more varied fresh food and vegetable consumption. Most of these high-value crops are chloride-intolerant, which drives the demand for specialty agricultural inputs such as chloride-free SOP fertiliser. Perhaps more important for fertiliser producers is that these trends, along with a stronger emphasis on sustainable agriculture and its benefits on human health and the environment, offer considerable growth opportunities. In the Asia Pacific region, the demand for premium fertilisers such as SOP is thriving thanks to the expansion of micro-irrigated, greenhouse-grown horticulture — particularly in Australia and China, which top the list of countries with the largest harvested area dedicated to certified organic farming.
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