CF INDUSTRIES, INC. DONALDSONVILLE NITROGEN CMPLX - Executive Summary
CF INDUSTRIES, INC. |
DONALDSONVILLE NITROGEN COMPLEX
LDEQ Facility ID No. 2694
About CF Industries, Inc.
CF Industries, Inc. is one of North America's largest interregional cooperatives, owned by and serving nine regional farm supply cooperatives. Through thousands of Member-owned sales outlets, the Company's nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizers reach over one million farmers and ranchers in 48 states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
Headquartered in Long Grove, Illinois, CF is proud to serve its farmer-owners, who comprise about one quarter of the entire North American plant food market. The CF family includes over 1,600 full-time staff and employees dedicated to customer service, innovation, and environment, health and safety stewardship.
CF Industries (originally "Central Farmers Fertilizer Company") was formed in 1946 by a group of regional farm cooperatives to provide a more economical source of plant food. Today, the CF system of manufacturing, market
ing, and distribution is the most extensive in North America--with the ability to deliver more than eight million tons of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash fertilizers to its member cooperatives annually.
What are fertilizers?
Fertilizers are plant nutrients. Nutrients exist naturally in the earth's soil and atmosphere, and in animal manure. However, naturally occurring nutrients are not always available in the forms that plants can use. Therefore, man-made fertilizer is vital to food production. Man-made and natural fertilizers contain the same ingredients, but man-made fertilizers act more quickly and are less susceptible to weather changes. Farmers, ranchers and gardeners add these fertilizers directly to the soil, where they can be absorbed by plants for healthy growth. Incorporated into a program of best management practices, which includes soil testing, man-made fertilizer use leads to higher crop yields and greater environmental protection.
Man-made fertilizers have made a t
remendous difference in farm productivity and the well being of the world's people. The letters N, P and K on a bag of fertilizer are symbols for the elements Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). They are the primary nutrients and each contributes to plant health:
N - Nitrogen -- Promotes rapid, leafy green growth and builds plant material.
P - Phosphorus - Helps the plant produce seeds and grow roots.
K - Potassium - Improves fruit quality and improves disease resistance.
CF manufactures three nitrogen-based fertilizers: anhydrous ammonia, granular urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) solution. In addition, CF produces two phosphate products: diammonium phosphate (DAP), and monoammonium phosphate (MAP). CF serves as a broker for potash fertilizer.
Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex, Donaldsonville, Louisiana
CF's Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex is the largest, most modern nitrogen production facility in the United States. The complex covers over 200 acres, and annu
al production capacity exceeds 5 million tons. Highly skilled employees keep the plant running 24 hours a day. Operating units are shut down periodically to undergo rigorous inspection and maintenance.
In 1999, employees at Donaldsonville achieved five million safe work hours, a record dating from October 1990. As a result of its continuing safe operations, Donaldsonville ranks first in the United States and third in the world among all similar facilities, according to the National Safety Council.
The Donaldsonville facility is unique in its ability to produce world-scale quantities of three major nitrogen fertilizers -- ammonia, urea and nitrogen solutions. Product storage facilities, rail car loading stations, ammonia pipeline injection stations, and barge and ship loading docks fronting the Mississippi River ensure a steady supply of nitrogen fertilizers for the farm market.
The primary RMP regulated substance at the facility is ammonia that is manufactured, shipped as a produ
ct, and used as feedstock for other products. Chlorine is also present in excess of threshold quantities. Chlorine is used as a biocide in water treatment. The flammable substances hydrogen and methane also qualify for regulation under the rule. Hydrogen is produced from natural gas and water in the ammonia process and trace quantities present in by-product carbon dioxide are a concern in the urea process. Methane is a component of natural gas used as feedstock for the ammonia process and fuel throughout the facility.
Description of Manufacturing Units
Manufacturing activity at Donaldsonville begins with the production of ammonia. Ammonia is in turn utilized in the production of urea, nitric acid and ammonium nitrate. Urea and ammonium nitrate are combined to form UAN solution. The complex has four ammonia plants, one urea solution plant, three granular urea plants, three nitric acid plants, two ammonium nitrate neutralizer units, and two UAN blending units.
Ammonia is form
ed from air, water and natural gas through a series of processes. Initially air is filtered and compressed to 600 psig; water is clarified, filtered and demineralized; and natural gas is desulfurized.
Steam and natural gas (methane) are fed into the primary reformer, a reactor furnace containing several hundred catalyst tubes plus associated burners and heat recovery equipment. The feed gas mixture reacts at 15000F and 500 psig in the presence of nickel catalyst to form hydrogen and carbon oxides. Unreacted steam and methane are directed to the secondary reformer where compressed air is added and further reaction occurs.
The reformer gases are purified by high and low temperature shift converters that react carbon monoxide and water to carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Carbon dioxide is removed in an absorber column where the process gas passes through an alkanolamine solution. Trace quantities of carbon oxides in process gases are reacted to methane in the methanator. Steam strip
pers are used to remove carbon dioxide from alkanolamine solution. Approximately eighty percent of the carbon dioxide produced by ammonia units is used as feedstock for the production of urea.
The process gas, a 3 to 1 mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen, is termed synthesis gas. Synthesis gas is compressed to 2300 psig by a steam-driven, centrifugal compressor and circulated through an ammonia converter that reacts about 13 percent of the gas to ammonia. Ammonia is removed from the synthesis loop gas stream by condensation in an ammonia refrigeration system. Product ammonia is withdrawn as a "warm" liquid (560F) sent to the product pipeline or to other manufacturing units, or as a "cold" liquid (-280F) sent to storage tanks.
Granular urea is a solid fertilizer manufactured from ammonia and by-product carbon dioxide.
Liquid ammonia and gaseous carbon dioxide are mixed at 2200 psig in a condenser to form ammonium carbamate. Carbamate flows into the urea reactor where about one-half
of the carbamate is converted to urea and water.
A high-pressure stripper produces ammonia and carbon dioxide from the carbamate from the reactor. The ammonia and carbon dioxide are recycled to the condenser along with make-up ammonia and carbon dioxide.
From the stripper, urea solution flows to the rectifying column where ammonia and carbon dioxide are removed. Water is removed from purified urea solution by vacuum evaporation to produce concentrated urea melt.
In the No. 1 and No. 2 urea units, urea melt is sprayed inside granulation drums onto a moving bed of urea granules. Granules are removed, screened, and conveyed to a warehouse. Cooling air from the granulation drums is scrubbed.
In the No. 4urea unit, urea melt is sprayed inside the granulator onto a fluidized bed of urea granules. Granules are removed, screened and cooled before being conveyed to a warehouse.
The No. 3 urea unit produces urea solution to manufacture UAN solution. Urea solution is also obtained fro
m the No. 4 urea unit prior to the granulation step in the process. Urea unit No. 2 may also provide urea solution for manufacture of UAN solution.
The No. 3 urea solution process is a "once-through" process. Liquid ammonia and gaseous carbon dioxide are mixed at 2200 psig in a condenser to form ammonium carbamate. Carbamate flows into the urea reactor where about one-half of the carbamate is converted to urea and water.
A high-pressure stripper produces ammonia and carbon dioxide from the carbamate from the reactor. The ammonia and carbon dioxide are recycled to the condenser along with make-up ammonia and carbon dioxide. Urea solution is processed through a flash tank and then directed to the UAN mix tank. Vent gases from the urea reactor and the flash tank are fed to the ammonium nitrate neutralizer to provide the ammonia feed for the neutralizer.
UAN production involves the production of nitric acid from ammonia, air and water. The nitric acid is reacted with ammonia t
o form ammonium nitrate, which is combined with urea solution to form UAN.
Nitric acid production is initiated by vaporizing anhydrous ammonia, mixing it with compressed air and then reacting the mixture over platinum/rhodium gauze at 16250F to produce nitrogen oxide. The nitrogen oxide gas is cooled in the waste heat boiler to recover energy and further cooled before entering the absorption tower where nitrogen oxides are absorbed in water to produce nitric acid.
The No. 2 nitric acid unit is a single pressure production process. The air and gaseous ammonia stream are reacted and the resultant nitrogen oxides are absorbed at a pressure of about 130 psig. The No. 1 and No. 3 nitric acid units are dual pressure processes. Nitrogen oxide is produced at 60 psig and the acid reactions in the absorber take place at 160 psig.
Ammonium nitrate solution is formed by reacting nitric acid and ammonia in a neutralizer. The solution flows from the neutralizer into a mixing tank with urea
solution to produce UAN.
Environment, Health & Safety Philosophy
It is the philosophy of CF Industries to conduct its business and operate its facilities in a manner designed to protect the environment and the health and safety of its employees.
CF Industries is committed to complying with all applicable environmental laws, rules and regulations and will promote environmental concern and education among its employees and with the communities in which it operates. CF Industries is equally committed to protecting the safety and health of its employees, and will take all practical steps to eliminate or reduce the exposure of employees to conditions adversely affecting their safety or health while on the job, and encourages off-the-job employee safety and health awareness as well. The Corporation does not hesitate to go beyond legal requirements if, in its prudent judgment, a higher level of performance is in order.
Management at each facility is directly responsible for the developm
ent and implementation of programs and procedures to ensure conformance with this philosophy. The programs and procedures are continually reviewed and updated, and each facility is periodically audited to assure compliance.
The people of CF Industries are dedicated to and trained in the safe operation of the Company's production, storage and distribution facilities. However, CF Industries' personnel are also trained in key aspects of emergency response.
If a public health emergency has occurred involving a CF facility, news releases with frequent updates and local emergency response agency information can be accessed at www.cfindustries.com
Worst Case Scenario and Alternate Release Scenario
The facility's toxic substance worst case scenario as defined by RMP regulations is the release of the capacity of a refrigerated ammonia storage tank into a containment dike. Modeling of the effect of the release of ammonia from the resulting pool predicts the scenario would have offsite im
pact and include public receptors. Administrative controls reduce the maximum capacity of the storage tank by 6.7 percent. The earthen dike around the tank limits the exposed surface area of the pool reducing the release rate. Systems and procedures that make the scenario unlikely include employee training, routine inspections, pressure safety valves, pressure control systems, and controlled access to the area.
The regulation requires alternate release scenarios for ammonia and chlorine. The scenario for ammonia is the release of the capacity of a rail car. The scenario was selected for several reasons including, the Ascension Parish Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plan uses the scenario. Modeling the effect of the release predicts the scenario would have offsite impact and include public receptors. For chlorine, the scenario is a release from the failure of tubing connected to a chlorine cylinder. This is similar to one of the scenarios described in the American Wat
er Works Association RMP Guidance Document for Water Treatment Plants. Modeling the effect of the release predicts the scenario would have offsite impact and include public receptors. No residences are located in the predicted zone of impact.
The flammable substance worst case scenario is the release of the contents of natural gas (methane) piping located on the facility and the assumption that the total released quantity is involved in a vapor cloud explosion as required by RMP regulations. Modeling of the effect of the explosion predicts the scenario would have offsite impact and include public receptors. No residences are located in the predicted zone of impact.
The flammable substance alternate release scenario is the release of natural gas from a one-inch hole in a high-pressure natural gas line caused by a connection failure. Modeling the effect of a vapor cloud explosion of the released natural gas predicts the scenario would have offsite impact and include public receptor
s. No residences are located in the predicted zone of impact.
Accidental Release Prevention Program
The Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex is subject to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Process Safety Management (PSM) standards 29 CFR 1910.119. According to EPA, PSM standards form the basis for the Agency's RMP prevention program component. When PSM regulations became effective, the facility's various safety, maintenance, equipment inspection, and written procedure programs were adapted to comply with the regulations. Likewise, a corporate policy regarding environmental, health and safety reviews for changes and hazard analyses for major projects was adapted to comply with the PSM requirement for Process Hazard Analyses (PHA). The initial PHA and a revalidation for process-related facilities at Donaldsonville are complete. Facility procedures require an appropriate PHA for process changes to maintain the integrity of the PHA for each area and to facilit
ate revalidation efforts. The RMP change of focus from the workplace to potential offsite impact was incorporated into the PHA revalidation effort.
Five-year Accident History
Four incidents have occurred at the facility within the last five years that meet RMP rule requirements for reporting. Three of the incidents involve releases of flammables that caused significant on-site property damage. A minor on-site injury was associated with one of the three incidents. The fourth incident, an ammonia release, is included in the accident history due to a precautionary request for a shelter-in-place during assessment of the magnitude of the incident and the potential for off-site impact. The assessment determined that the incident did not have the potential for off-site impact.
Emergency Response Program
The facility's emergency response plan meets the OSHA requirements of 29CFR 1910.120(q). The Incident Command System method of establishing an appropriate organization for respons
e to emergency situations is the basis of the plan. Incident Commanders, Medical First Responders, Hazardous Materials Technicians, Firefighters, Rescue Team Members, Building Wardens, and other support personnel are trained and available. Facility personnel participate in Community Awareness Emergency Response Committee meetings where representatives of 15 chemical companies and the Ascension Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness formulate, implement and maintain up-to-date community emergency response plans.
Planned Changes to Improve Safety
The facility has a goal of continuous improvement and uses total quality management techniques to define and address issues. Continued pursuit of the improvement goal is planned to improve safety.