Veolia supplies crystallisation technology to produce premium potash fertiliser in Turkey

Veolia Water Technologies will provide key processing technologies integrating HPD® crystallisation systems designed to produce high-quality sulphate of potash.

In a world with a growing emerging class of more affluent consumers, the demand for high-value foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and coffee is soaring. Thanks to greenhouses and precision irrigation, these plants are grown in arid areas with otherwise inhospitable soils and climates. But because some of these specialty crops are sensitive to chloride, traditional potassium fertilisers cannot be applied. In Turkey, the solution comes at a high cost.

That means, importing a multi-nutrient fertiliser that is chloride-free and water-soluble: potassium sulphate or sulphate of potash (SOP). To make this product more affordable and locally available, Istanbul, Turkey-based Alkim Alkali Kimya A.S. (Alkim), one of the largest sodium sulphate producers in the world, decided to invest in its Koralkim facility near Dazkırı on the coast of lake Acıgöl to produce up to 50,000 tons per year of soluble-grade SOP.

The best way to the purest crystals
Because SOP is not a naturally occurring mineral, Alkim awarded Veolia a contract to supply HPD® crystallisation technology to produce SOP in crystalline, fully-soluble form. The chemical reaction between purified potassium chloride and brine saturated with sulphate salts takes place inside draft tube baffle crystallisers which allow for the reaction time under controlled temperature to promote the growth of highly-pure SOP crystals.

Veolia’s solution, which also includes multiple-effect crystallisers to produce almost 35,000 tons per year of food-grade sodium chloride as a by-product, optimises capital investment by utilising Alkim’s existing cogeneration units. Operating expenses are controlled by maximising water and steam economies through the recovery of clean condensate and residual heat used for dissolving and heating the incoming solution of potassium chloride.

Alkim has relied on Veolia two times before to deliver the initial crystallisation system and a subsequent expansion at the facility in Çayırhan near Anakaraand to produce pure sodium sulphate from solution-mined Glauberite extracted from underground natural deposits. The success of those installations along with that of the laboratory bench testing performed to de-risk the project and validate the design and performance projections, gave Alkim the confidence to select Veolia once again.

For Reha Kora, CEO of Alkim, “this is a continuation of working together with Veolia on several projects for many years.” The executive also drew attention to the future of the project and his conviction in the relationship. “We have the total confidence that this SOP project will be realised with great success.”

“We are pleased to support Alkim in the production of high-quality potash fertilisers to meet the demand in Turkey and beyond. HPD crystallisation technologies exemplify the value that Veolia brings to the fertiliser industry in extracting soluble crop nutrients with the most efficient energy and water use” said Jim Brown, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas.

Through its long, proven history with HPD® evaporation and crystallisation technologies applied in industrial chemical processes, Veolia helps fertiliser and other inorganic salt producers to optimise their industrial operations and the value of its products with a focus on enhancing environmental sustainability as well as energy and resource efficiencies.