History of UFT fluid bed granulation process

Fluid bed granulation technology was developed in the mid-1970s by NSM Sluiskil (then Hydro Agri, later Yara), a large nitrogen fertilizer company which had been producing urea in Sluiskil in the Netherlands since the 1950s.

At the time, there was a market demand for granulated urea to overcome the various short-comings of prilled urea (particle size limitations, poor hardness, product caking, environmental constraints).

The process was developed with the following requirements in mind:

  • the production of urea granules of the highest possible quality and sizes required by the market
  • environment-friendly operation at competitive costs
  • maximum straightforward operational flexibility
  • a single-train design to match ever-increasing urea synthesis capacities
  • competitive investment costs

After extensive laboratory research and pilot plant tests, the process was successfully implemented on an industrial scale in Sluiskil in 1979. HFT/YFT, a dedicated licensing company registered in Sluiskil, then began licensing the technology to fertilizer producers worldwide in 1980. Fluid bed granulation became the leading technology, boasting more than 60 reference plants with single-stream capacities ranging from 500 mt/d to 3,850 mt/d. Consequent and contineous R&D activities resulted in many seminal innovations.

In 2004 Yara decided to focus strictly on its core business (production and marketing of fertilizers), which led to the divestment of its urea fluid bed granulation licensing business. In 2005 Uhde Fertilizer Technology acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to further license the technology without any restrictions.