IFS Technical webinars

Connecting research and practice

Expanded series

Rigorous detail

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Written papers

2022 IFS technical webinar series

A programme of webinars covering a variety of topics relating to technical aspects of fertiliser production

During 2022 IFS continued to organise webinars for those involved and interested in the production and handling of fertilising products. 

Detailed information on the webinars that comprised this programme is shown below. 

Speciality high value fertilisers based on polyhalite

Khalil Abu-Rabeah, ICL Innovative Agro Solutions

Wednesday 26 January 2022

How to make fertilisers – lessons learnt from a life spent in the industry

David Thompson

Routes to granular products

David Ivell, JESA Technologies

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Producing added value fertiliser products

Wednesday 26 January 2022
14.00 BST / 15.00 CET


Speciality high value fertilisers based on polyhalite

Dr. Khalil Abu-Rabeah, Director of Fertilisers Technology and Global R&D, Innovative Agro Solutions, ICL, Israel

Since starting to extract polyhalite at scale from its UK Boulby mine in 2011, ICL has brought a totally new range of fertilisers to the global market. 

The seam of polyhalite being mined by ICL is a very pure (ca.90%) naturally occurring evaporite mineral containing potassium, magnesium and calcium effectively as sulphates in a single crystal structure; it is not a mixture of its constituent nutrients. It also contains valuable micronutrients such as boron, and has a unique extended solubility pattern; it is certified as an organic product and has a very low carbon footprint.

ICL is processing polyhalite in its facilities in Boulby in various physical stages including mining, crushing, screening and compaction with potash. All these processes have been developed and adapted by ICL to handle this new and unique mineral efficiently to high quality standards, enabling the production of fertilisers with a wide range of nutrient contents.

Polyhalite processing in Boulby provides two streams: a crushed and screened 2-4 mm granular fertiliser which is sold into the global market under their brand name Polysulphate™ and a standard material which is used in a new range of products developed by ICL containing various proportions of all six macronutrients (N, P, K, S, Mg and Ca) and some micronutrients. These include a product co-compacted with MOP (ICLPotashpluS®) and a wide range of multi-nutrient branded granular fertilisers. In addition, polyhalite has been evaluated in various production processes (steam granulation, chemical granulation, spherodiser granulation, pan granulation, prilling, spray-dryer granulation, compaction etc.) and with different raw materials (including urea, ammonium nitrate, MOP, SOP, solid or liquid MAP/DAP, superphosphate etc.).

The production processes for these outputs demonstrate various opportunities, ranging from operational parameters (process stability, throughput etc.) to high quality fertilisers produced in different facilities within and outside ICL, with these fertilisers showing excellent field performance of increased yields and improved crop quality across over 800 trials globally.

The combination of polyhalite with other fertiliser materials and processing using different technologies requires and dictates different approaches, especially with nitrogen-fertilisers. The operational parameters need to be re-set to allow better performance of the facilities, which may be achieved with or without additives to facilitate the production, depending on the required composition formulae.

ICL has also developed processes to include additives offering further added value for crop producers, such as additional microelements, biostimulants etc.

This presentation describes the development of the production processes that have been required during the introduction of this new and untried mineral, polyhalite, which have enabled ICL to produce a range of novel products to a consistently high quality.

Producing fertilisers - yesterday and today

Wednesday 23 February 2022
13.00 BST / 14.00 CEST

How to make fertilisers – lessons learnt from a life spent in the industry

David Thompson, ICI (Retired) and Consultant, UK

David worked at ICI Agricultural Division (later ICI Fertilizers) and Terra Nitrogen in the fertiliser area for nearly 35 years and is aware that much of the information regarding fertiliser technology in ICI has never been collected into a single document. This is not just a history lesson but, hopefully, will provide a reference document for those in the industry who need to be able to find technical information relating to their own manufacture of fertiliser.

In the middle of the last century there were many people involved in fertiliser technology whereas in present years there are very few. A danger in any industry is the loss of corporate knowledge, it is hoped that this will provide information on the ICI technical memory and encourage others to provide information to their own companies’ history – at the very least to their newer colleagues.

The areas covered include Research and Development, and the manufacture of NPK, ammonium nitrate and urea.

After leaving full time work, he has been a part-time consultant to the industry. This has been mainly centred on the various problems encountered with the shipping of fertilisers with many incidents being investigated. A summary of this work is included.

Throughout the paper there will be a focus on personal “Learning Points”, which he hopes will be of interest and value to people now active in fertiliser production, plus those who are considering becoming so. The presentation will conclude by highlighting aspects of the industry practice that the author’s experience indicates are still capable of improvement.

There will be an extensive written paper accompanying this presentation.

Routes to Granular Products

David Ivell, General Manager, JESA Technologies, USA

In this Webinar we will present 3 different routes to producing granular fertilizers, namely:

  • Bulk Blending
  • Steam Granulation
  • Chemical Granulation

The presentation will cover NP, NPS and NPK fertilizer production.

We will present the flowsheets for each route, highlight the key differences along with the pros and cons, as well as some typical formulations for each.

We will then deep dive into chemical granulation and will present a case study of a recently revamped plant. Operating and performance data will be presented, and this will be compared with similar data from a steam granulation plant.


This webinar will be worth 1 BASIS FACTS CPD PN point.