BEFORE FUEL, COAL NOW BECOMES FERTILIZERS

Source: Folha de São Paulo, Brazil. Edition of September 6th, 2014. By Machado da Costa.

Open Translation by TransGas Development Brazil.
TransGas and ThyssenKrupp will extract gas from coal
and then produce fertilizers. A new technology for Brazil
that can cut imports by 10 per cent, explain executives.
TransGas, an American company, and Germany’s
ThyssenKrupp are bringing to Brazil a new technology for
the production of fertilizers from coal. The technology
extracts synthetic gas, also called syngas, from the coal. By
using this gas, it will be possible to produce ammonia-based
fertilizers, such as ammonium nitrate and urea.
Adam Victor, President of TransGas, says that the
technology, besides being clean, opens a new frontier for
gas in Brazil.
The country has few natural gas reserves and relies on gas
imports to meet the domestic demand. However, the cost of
operation is considered high. For every million BTUs of
imported gas (thermal unit used to measure the amount of
gas), the country pays about $ 11.
The gas extracted from coal costs $ 1 per million BTUs.
“This puts Brazil in a select group of countries that have
initiated a revolution in the carbochemical industry,” he says.
Michael Kaiser, vice president of the engineering division of
ThyssenKrupp, which owns the technology, says that natural
gas tends to diminish its importance as a fuel, due to
operational difficulties and high cost. “There is no need to
get gas in the pre-salt; we are looking at coal that is 30-feet
deep,” says Mr. Kaiser.
Executives say the project will consume $ 3 billion in the first
four years, which consists of the implementation period of
the plant. The companies’ expectation is that the project will
start off the ground in 2015.
High Demand
The plant aims to tackle a Brazilian deficiency, which is the
domestic production of fertilizers. According to the National
Association for the Promotion of Fertilizers (Anda), the
country consumed 31 million tons of fertilizers in 2013. From
this total, 70 per cent was imported.
The expectation of TransGas is to produce 2.1 million tons of
fertilizers per year, which represents 10 per cent of what was
imported last year.
The new plant will compete with the new fertilizers plants
from Petrobras. The State Company has four ongoing
projects in the cities of Três Lagoas (MS), Uberaba (MG),
Camaçari (BA) and Vitória (ES).
Despite these new units, Rafael Otto, Ph.D. in soil science
from the University of São Paulo (USP), says Brazil will still
be depending on importing about 30 per cent of its fertilizers.
FOLHA DE SÃO PAULO
September 6th, 2014
São Paulo, Brazil
Original article in Portuguese:
http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/mercado/2014/09/1511945-antes-combustivel-carvao-mineral-vira-fertilizante.shtml