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The fertiliser sector is likely to boost the global market for ammonium nitrate. As world population grows, the demand for food, and in turn, fertilisers, increases. Therefore, the fertiliser sector is projected to see increasing demand for ammonium nitrate, which is a key fertiliser ingredient. In the majority of European countries, ammonium nitrate fertiliser is widely used. A fast release fertiliser, ammonium nitrate enables quick absorption of nitrate and ammonium ions by plants for instant metabolism. In 2019, global production and consumption of ammonium nitrates touched over 20 million metric tons, nearly 80% of which was explained by ammonium nitrate and almost 19% by calcium-ammonium nitrate (CAN). However, growing prices in the fertiliser industry may hinder the market, also, calcium-ammonium nitrate has seen an increase in demand owing to safety concerns associated with ammonium nitrate. USA, EU and Russia are chief global producers and consumers of ammonium nitrate.
Ammonium nitrate is also used to make explosives, making it a valuable component in the defence, mining, quarrying, and building industries. The major raw material used in the creation of civil explosives is ammonium nitrate (technical grade). It is also a key ingredient in fertiliser manufacture. In the mining business, low density ammonium nitrate explosive is commonly used. It is made to be extremely porous to allow liquid fuel oil to absorb quickly. To improve flowability and handling properties, the prill is coated with trace amounts of a waxy anti-caking substance.
In 2021, Smartchem Technologies, a fully-owned subsidiary of Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals announced the foundation-stone laying of a Rs 2,200-crore technical ammonium nitrate (TAN) complex in Odisha, India. With an annual capacity of 377-kilo tonnes, the complex, situated at the Gopalpur Industrial Park, is slated for commissioning by August 2024. The project is expected to help Odisha become a major technical ammonium nitrate (TAN) supplier for the Eastern region, which is expected to witness significant growth in mining.
In 2020, Enaex and sasol announced the establishment of a joint venture to develop an outstanding explosives business in Africa. Founded in 1920 in Chile, Enaex specializes in the production of ammonium nitrate.
Ammonium nitrate (electronics grade) is further used in the electronics industry. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is required when manufacturing semiconductors, LCD displays and thin-film oxides for computers, smart phones, robots, cars, health devices, and space rockets; pure forms of ammonium nitrate are used to produce high-quality nitrous oxide. In the healthcare industry, ammonium nitrate (medical grade) is used in the production of nitrous oxide gas which in turn is employed to manufacture anaesthetics for use in dentistry and surgery, and as a propellant for drugs packaged in aerosols. Other industrial and consumer applications of ammonium nitrate include agricultural chemicals (non-pesticidal), odor agents, oxidizing/reducing agents, plasticizers, propellants and blowing agents, lawn and garden care products, photo chemicals, surface treatment (in the automotive industry), etc.
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