Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1977
Year 1977, Volume 1 (1977)
Foster, Russell J.
Nitrogen, pp. 673-684 PDF (1.4 MB)
673Nitrogen By Russell J. Foster1 Production of fixed nitrogen, that is ammonia, in the United States rose 5% in 1977 to 14.6 million tons of contained nitrogen. Ammonia exports declined 4%, but total exports of all nitrogen compounds increased 6%. Imports of ammonia were up 48%, paralleling the 45% rise for all nitrogencontaining products. Domestic consumption of ammonia, including net imports of 538,000 tons of nitrogen content, was up 5%. Elemental nitrogen production reached 12 million tons, up 15% from the previous year. Consumption was assumed equal to production. Legislation and Government Programs.—The Energy Research and Development Administration signed an agreement with W. R. Grace & Co. for a program to develop the commercial synthesis of ammonia from coal. The company selected the Texaco, Inc., coal gasification process for production of synthesis gas as part of the initial design and engineering phase of the project. Subsequent phases would include construction and operation of the plant in western Kentucky by 1982.2 The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced plans to construct a small demonstration gasifier, also based on Texaco technology, to produce synthesis gas as part of the raw material for its 225-ton-per-day ammonia plant currently fed by natural gas. The project may demonstrate the feasibility of retrofitting existing ammQnia plants to use coal.3 TVA awarded a contract to Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., for design and construction of an air separation unit for the coal gasification plant.4 The Federal Power Commission (FPC) placed restrictions on the dedication of specific portions of natural gas reserves by producers to ammonia and other chemical industry consumers.5 The FPC also ruled that users of natural gas from Federal offshore areas for production of ammonia and other chemicals can be charged above the ceiling price set by the FPC when the gas is used as a feedstock rather than a fuel.~ The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of soft drink bottles made from acrylonitrile. The FDA claimed that the bottles were unsafe because unreacted acrylonitrile monomer can leach into the contents under the agency's extraction test conditions.~ * The Environmental Protection Agency temporarily revoked pH limitations for all effluent discharges of nitric acid so that the issue of total compliance within a fixed range of pH could be reconsidered.~ At yearend the outcome of comprehensive energy legislation, including the issue of natural gas price regulation, continued unresolved.~ Table 1.—Salient ammonia statistics (Thousandshort tons of contained nitrogen) 1973 1974 1975 1976 l9l?~ United States: Production 1 Exports Importsforconsumption Consumption2 world:Pmduction5 12,641 741 271 12,778 51,500 13,061 326 373 12,877 53,400 13,617 289 662 13,229 54,600 13,863 361 599 13,946 65,000 14,566 346 884 14,685 68,500 e~timate ~Pre1iminary. ' Synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke oven ammonia. 2lncludes producers' stock change in synthetic anhydrous ammonia and coke oven ammonia.
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