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August 8, 2013
One of the world’s largest ammonia plants to be built in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) will be utilizing ammonia technology from ThyssenKrupp Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany; www.thyssenkrupp-uhde.de) in its new ammonia plant Ma’aden II, being built near the port of Ras al Khair in the Arabian Gulf. As a sub-contractor to Daelim, ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s scope includes the license, engineering planning, and supply of key equipment. The 3,300-ton/d plant is scheduled for completion in 2016 and will be one of the largest of its kind worldwide. It will utilize the dual-pressure ammonia process from plant engineering specialists ThyssenKrupp Uhde, a globally unique technology that not only offers outstanding reliability and environmental friendliness, but also enables single-train plants to produce 3,000 to 4,000 tons of ammonia per day.
To date there are only two plants of this size in operation worldwide, with a third under construction. The world’s biggest ammonia plant is also operated by Ma’aden and went into service in 2011. All plants use the dual-pressure ammonia process and other technologies from ThyssenKrupp Uhde.
Hans Christoph Atzpodien, CEO of ThyssenKrupp’s Industrial Solutions business area, under-lines the importance of the investment for the strategic development of the group: “We are focusing firmly on the markets of the future. The MENA region is an attractive market for our high-tech products and services. The orders and projects for ThyssenKrupp Uhde in connection with Ma’aden II run into the three-digit millions.”
With a population of almost 28 million and GDP of $657 billion (2012), Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest economy in the MENA region. As the population grows, demand for food is rising constantly. “Our engineering is helping local industries and agriculture meet the demand for more food using better, high-tech fertilizer plants,” says Atzpodien.
To leverage economies of scale in the production of ammonia – one of the most important elements in the manufacture of fertilizers — there is a trend toward building bigger plants. But significant capacity increases are restricted by manufacturing limits for some plant components. ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s dual-pressure ammonia process, in which a once-through synthesis unit is installed to produce ammonia upstream of the conventional synthesis loop, can boost the capacity of a single-train plant by 65% while at the same time reducing its energy consumption by 4% (For more process details, see Chem. Eng., November 2002, pp. 27–33, and Chem. Eng., October 2008; http://www.che.com/news/4235.html).