Concentrated phosphate is a key ingredient in most fertilizers. To create phosphate suitable for fertilizers, first the phosphate rock is crushed, mixed with water and then combined with sulphuric acid in a reactor to produce phosphoric acid. Finally, the phosphoric acid is reacted with ammonia to produce ammonium phosphate fertilizer.
Sulphuric acid is produced on site from molten sulfur and water. It is in the production of the sulfuric acid that the greatest risks of leaks occur. Within the sulfuric acid production process it is critical that both the flow of the acid and its concentration are carefully monitored. Conventionally used inline meters are prone to failure due to the highly corrosive acid as well as the extreme temperatures involved (>200 °C).
Even more than instrument failures, acid leaks are the biggest concern due to the safety and environmental impact they have. And, since measuring acid concentration is critical to production, line failures require the process to be shut down to repair the leak.
The PIOX S clamp-on process analyzer is the proper solution for such applications as it measures from outside the pipe wall and thus avoids direct media contact and can never be the source for potential leaks. PIOX S uses the data gained from its ultrasonic transmission technology to perform concentration analysis during process control and to calculate the (concentration compensated) mass flow rate.
The Florida plant of the worlds's biggest phosphate fertilizer producer already uses more than 20 PIOX S systems for concentration monitoring as well as mass flow measurement of the flowing sulphuric acid (even at extreme temperatures above 200 °C). Not only are downtimes, due to avoidance of leaks, significantely reduced, moreover, the plant operator now knows exactly what tonnages of acid they are producing all the time. By implementing PIOX S, the operator has not only achieved his primary goal of increased safety, but also greatly reduced downtime as well as achieved real time control of production data.