Veolia Water Technologies is supplying HPD® crystallization systems that will produce high-quality sulfate of potash (SOP) fertiliser in the depths of Western Australia’s outback.
Perth-based Salt Lake Potash is developing the Lake Way potash mining project to produce 245,000 tons per year of SOP (K2SO4) from dry salt lake deposits in the Northern Goldfields region of Western Australia. To recover low-cost, high-grade SOP, the production uses solar evaporation to concentrate the hypersaline, potassium-rich brines for salt harvesting.
To further process these solids, Veolia will design and supply two HPD® crystallizers: one to grow 32 tons of high-purity potassium sulfate crystals every hour, the other to recycle 54 tons per hour of solids to yield the maximum potassium recovery.
More performance, less risk
As part of this contract, Veolia provided bench-scale testing at Veolia’s Phillip J. Stewart Technology Center in Plainfield, Illinois (US). The results validated the feed chemistry, simulated the optimal flowsheet design and confirmed process performance projections that helped to de-risk the project.
To accelerate this fast-track project and achieve the delivery schedule, Veolia staged the progress to advance the basic engineering and testing simultaneously. These actions not only optimised capital investments but also lowered operating costs through a system design that minimises fouling and cleaning requirements.
With its HPD® technologies tailored to growing fully-soluble crystals, Veolia helps global fertiliser producers to optimise their recovery operations and the value of their product portfolio, with a focus on enhancing environmental sustainability as well as energy and resource efficiencies.
Fresh produce on the rise
With the rapid growth of a global middle class comes shifts in dietary patterns towards more varied fresh food and vegetable consumption. Most of these high-value crops are chloride-intolerant which drives the demand for specialty agricultural inputs such as chloride-free SOP fertiliser.
Perhaps more important for fertiliser producers is that these trends, along with a stronger emphasis on sustainable agriculture and its benefits on human health and the environment, offer considerable growth opportunities.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the demand for premium fertilisers such as SOP is thriving thanks to the expansion of micro-irrigated, greenhouse-grown horticulture, particularly in Australia and China which top the list of countries with the largest harvested area dedicated to certified organic farming.
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