The Importance of Ammonia in Industrial and Agricultural Usage
industry features many products, but ammonia is one of the most significant. Since ammonia is used in the production of nitric acid, nitrogen-based compounds and fertilizers, it has many practical applications. It is consumed in two main areas: industrial applications and agriculture. The former has witnessed a decline in recent years, owing to the global economic downturn.
It is estimated that 100 kilograms of ammonia can increase corn yield by as much as 60% on 1 ha of land and wheat yield by as much as 10%. Ammonia can be utilized in the form of ammonia water or as a fertilizer in liquid form. It also has other widespread uses in the manufacturing of plastic, as a coolant, and for industrial safety purposes.
Where in the World Is It Made?
The world’s top ammonia producers (2012 figures) include China (44k tonnes), India (12k tonnes), Russia (10k tonnes), U.S. (9.47k tonnes), Trinidad and Tobago (5.5k tonnes), Indonesia (5.1k tonnes), Ukraine (4.3k tonnes), Canada (3.9k tonnes), Egypt (3k tonnes) and Germany (2.8k tonnes). China made up over 32% of global production in 2012 with Russia at 7%.
At the Forefront of European Ammonia Production: A Small Town in Russia
TogliattiAzot (also known as ToAZ) is a leading chemicals company, which is one of the largest ammonia manufacturers in the world – producing huge quantities of ammonia for widespread use across Europe, Russia and beyond. Despite being a major producer of ammonia for European consumption, the company is headquartered in the small Russian town of Tolyatti, where it employs over 6,000 locals. Owing to this its success in Russia, ToAz was awarded the Best Taxpayer award by the RBC Daily, after having contributed $100 million in taxes to the Russian economy in 2011. TogliattiAzot’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sergei Makhlai, is regarded as a visionary in the industry, having led the design and development of world-class infrastructure and production facilities that are among the best in Europe.
Major Ammonia Producers in the European Union
As we know, Russia is not part of the European Union, which produces most of its ammonia by way of natural gas as a feedstock. The use of natural gas as a feedstock is used to form NH3, and also as a fuel for energy purposes. The EU has an ammonia production capacity of 21 million tonnes, with some 17 states producing ammonia at 42 plants.
Germany produces the most ammonia with 17% of the EU’s capacity. Poland is next with 16% of the overall capacity, and the Netherlands follows with 13%. As of 2013, some 20,613 k tonnes of ammonia was produced in the European Union. Greece produced the lowest amount at 165k tonnes, and Germany produced the most at 3,438k tonnes.
For comparison, in 2013 Russia’s TogliattiAzot alone produced 26,000 k tonnes of ammonia. – over 25% more than the output of the entire EU put together. This only goes to show that if manufacturing for this lucrative market is distributed somewhat unevenly across the globe, the picture in Europe is no different.