The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) will be utilizing ammonia technology from ThyssenKrupp 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 per day 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.
Saudi Arabia is a strategically important market
Dr. Hans Christoph Atzpodien, CEO of ThyssenKrupp’s Industrial Solutions business area, underlines 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 in connection with Ma’aden II run into the three-digit millions.”
With a population of almost 28 million and GDP of US$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 Dr. Atzpodien.
Higher capacities and lower energy consumption through “dual-pressure ammonia process”
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 percent while at the same time reducing its energy consumption by four percent.