Case Study: Canadian Fertilizer Industry

In 2020, Canada’s fertilizer industry overcame rail disruptions and COVID-19 to ensure Canadian farmers had all the crop nutrients they needed for planting this spring. Canadian shipments, based on nutrient content, reached record highs of 2.672 million tons of nitrogen, up 2% from 2019, and 1.137 million t of phosphorus, marginally higher than 2018 – 2019. The industry shipped 410 000 nutrient t of potassium (potash) and 353 000 t of sulfur.  This make Canada one of the largest fertilizer producers in the world and it take a lot of natural gas to do so.

Within these fertilizer facilities there are process heaters that are essential to the operation of making their products. These heaters consume a significant amount of natural gas and is one of the major sources of cost and GHG emissions in a fertilizer plant.  Even a small efficiency gain can result in significantly reduction of both costs and emissions and one of the first steps is upgrading to a modern automated control system.

Four Ways to Modernize Your Production

  • Install a modern and automated control system to oversee the facility’s industrial burners.  This will provide the data, control,  and visuals needed for operators to run the plan as efficiently as possible
  • Invest in pressure,  temperature, and flow measurement with smart system features.  You can’t control what you don’t measure and temperature measurements on a process heater leads to additional safety and better performance
  • Save electricity with VFD installation on the combustion blowers.  The optimal amount of air is critical for overall performance.  Too much, and much of your heat goes out the stack…Too little, and you can have a dangerous situation.  Using a VFD to control the amount of air into a heater is the most efficient way of delivering the right amount of air at the right time.
  • Improve performance and reliability with new burners.  Replacing old worn out burners with new more efficient low NOx burners and you will see an instant improvement in your heater efficiency.

The Solution: Honeywell’s SLATE Combustion Management System

The SLATE Combustion Management System is a rugged, reliable, and flexible solution that exceeds even the most demanding industrial needs. It is comprised of Burner Control and Flame Amplifier Modules, a software application, and a full-color, 7-inch touch screen display with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. The SLATE AX Tool gives end-users the necessary control logic to create applications quickly and easily, using function block programming to save time. By replacing the outdated system with SLATE, the facility can maximize its automation potential and achieve seamless integration. The result? Facility operators enjoy enhanced control of the industrial burners while conserving money and energy.

Control systems used to monitor the temperature of the burners and manage the variable-frequency drive (VFD) of combustion blowers will provide operators a view to all the process variables at a single, convenient location.  This will provide them with the critical information they need to make quick decisions and improve the efficiency and operation of the furnace. With its faster programming, reduced engineering time, simplified inventory, and highly configurable settings, SLATE streamlines and simplifies the product development process for the fertilizer production plant – helping it achieve optimal efficiency.

The Benefits

Fully automating your process heater utilizing a modern Slate Combustion Control System can help you optimize your heaters.  From measuring pressures, temperatures and flows to controlling final control elements Slate has been designed to do one thing really well…Control Combustion!   Reach out to one of our combustion experts to discuss how we can help you.