Officially inaugurated in 2019, the new EuroChem Northwest ammonia plant reached forecasted annual output in September 2020. Penetron crystalline technology was applied to the concrete structures of the cooling tower to ensure that everything stays cool during an uninterrupted production process.
Eurochem is a global producer and supplier of fertilizers and industrial chemicals headquartered in Zug, Switzerland. The company maintains production facilities on four continents.
The new EuroChem Northwest is a US$1 billion ammonia plant located in Kingisepp, an ancient town and administrative center on the Luga River, 138 kilometers (86 mi) southwest of St. Petersburg, Russia. The plant has an annual production capacity of 1 million tons, the largest in Europe. EuroChem Northwest supplies ammonia to Eurochem’s fertilizer production plants in Belgium, Lithuania, and to the company’s adjacent phosphate fertilizer facility, also in Kingisepp, in addition to third party facilities.
Ammonia is an important component of fertilizer production. Greatly simplified, ammonia production starts with natural gas to produce hydrogen, which is then catalytically reacted with nitrogen (derived from process air) to form anhydrous liquid ammonia – known as the “ammonia synthesis loop.”
Making a Durable Cooling Tower
The industrial by-products and wastewater generated by the production process are carried away by a closed water recycling system. This system prevents effluent from being discharged into the nearby Luga River, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The closed water circulation cycle carries away all the industrial waste sewage and guarantees the environmental safety of the plant. A cooling tower – constructed of concrete – is a key element in the production process as it helps keep the recycled water at a constant temperature.
“The reinforced concrete structure of the cooling tower was treated with a topical application of PENETRON from the negative side, or outside. The construction joints were sealed with PENECRETE MORTAR,” explains Yevgenia Kuzminova, Director of Penetron St. Petersburg. “The combination of these crystalline products will ensure that the water circulating in the tower does not penetrate into the concrete matrix, even under the high hydrostatic pressure encountered in the closed loop.”
Specialists at Penetron St. Petersburg supplied the Penetron crystalline products and monitored the process to ensure a correct application.
A Treatment That Penetrates Into Concrete
Once it comes into contact with the prepared concrete surface, the proprietary chemicals in PENETRON penetrate deep into the concrete and react to moisture in a catalytic reaction to generate a non-soluble crystalline formation throughout the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. This formation permanently seals micro-cracks, pores, and capillaries against the penetration of water or liquids from any direction, resulting in impermeable concrete. The non-soluble crystalline formation generated by PENETRON becomes an integral part of the concrete matrix for the service life of the concrete.
“Since the opening of the EuroChem Northwest facility, uninterrupted production has gone smoothly, confirming the reliability of the Penetron products,” adds Yevgenia Kuzminova.