Scientists figured out how to save humanity from hunger

(ORDO NEWS) — NUST MISIS specialists, together with colleagues from Belarus, have proposed a new method for obtaining agricultural fertilizers from potash ores using industrial oils. The proposed method makes it possible to extract up to 95 percent of the potassium chloride contained in the ore, the most common and popular mineral fertilizer.

The study was published in the Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology. According to the World Bank, the global population is growing by about 75 million, or about 1.1 percent per year, which will increase the number of people on the planet to 8.4 billion by the mid-2030s and 9.6 billion by the mid-2050s.

At the same time, population growth is accompanied by an increase in demand for agricultural products and, at the same time, a reduction in the share of agricultural land.

Under these conditions, the role of mineral fertilizers is increasingly increasing, on which it depends that there is enough food for everyone. According to the International Fertilizer Association, the global demand for such substances by 2025-2026 will reach 208 million tons per year.

Potassium is one of the main mineral elements that plants need for proper development and fruiting. Potash fertilizers can not only increase productivity, but also improve the quality characteristics of agricultural products. The most common type of potash fertilizer today is potassium chloride.

Scientists figured out how to save humanity from hunger 2

Traditionally, it is obtained from potash ores in a flotation plant using various flotation reagents, or collectors – chemical compounds that help separate valuable components from the rest of the sediment.

A group of scientists from NUST MISIS and the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus found out that the use of industrial lubricating oils as a flotation agent significantly improves the efficiency of extracting potassium chloride from salvinite ore, a rock that serves as the main source of potassium.

“Research conducted at the Institute of General Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus found that the additional introduction of industrial oils of grades I-8A, I-12A and I-30A into the composition of the complex collector contributes to an increase in the extraction of potassium chloride into the concentrate.

Thanks to joint research with NUST MISIS, regularities and physico-chemical properties and phenomena occurring in the process of flotation using oils have been studied,” said Elena Osipova, researcher at the Institute of General Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

During the experiment, the researchers used prototypes of salvinite ore with a potassium chloride content of 27.21 percent by weight of the original substance. This content of the substance is characteristic of high-quality ores.

Aqueous emulsions for flotation are modified by introducing into the composition of the collector oils of grades I-8A, I-12A and I-30A, which are a product of distillate oil refining and are widely used in various friction units and hydraulic drives.

“The experiment showed that the introduction of industrial oils into the collector makes it possible to increase the efficiency of extracting potassium chloride from the initial mass by about 11 percent, up to almost 95 percent,” said Valentin Romanovsky, an employee of the Structural Ceramic Nanomaterials Research Center of NUST MISIS.

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