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 Fertilizers Europe,

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Jacob Hansen
Director General

Antoine Hoxha
Technical Director

Mineral fertilizers are an essential source of plant nutrients, which are needed to balance and supplement organic sources for giving plants the optimal growing conditions. Unless the nutrients are replenished, soil fertility deteriorates with every harvest. Thus, mineral fertilizers play a vital role in the food production worldwide, including Europe, contributing to food security. With a growing global population, they will have an increasingly key role in food production and maintaining peace in the world. 

The three primary nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  Nitrogen is mainly sourced from ammonium nitrate, urea or ammonium sulphate.  These fertilizer substances are synthesised using atmospheric nitrogen by complex chemical processes. Members of Fertilizers Europe produce several millions tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer annually.  

Ammonium nitrate is a very efficient nitrogen fertilizer. However, it also possesses some potentially hazardous properties. Therefore, safety in production, storage and various operations involving ammonium nitrate is very important for all stakeholders.

Kishore (Kish) Shah has acquired wide knowledge and deep understanding of the safety, health, environmental and regulatory aspects of our industry, with a focus on ammonium nitrate-based products. He had a long and illustrative career in the fertilizer industry and commands high respect as an expert in fertilizer safety internationally.

A considerable amount of literature on ammonium nitrate hazards and safety has been published over the decades. However, a comprehensive, practical publication covering all important aspects of the industry has been lacking. This new book will effectively fill that gap. The book covers various aspects of ammonium nitrate and the related fertilizer industry in a very comprehensive and user-friendly way. For example, potential hazards, provision of safety, management tools, regulatory framework, historical background and learning from past accidents are all described and discussed in a sound and useful way. 

Fertilizers Europe welcomes the publication of this book and believes that it will serve as a very good reference and practical book for young engineers as well as seasoned practitioners in the field. 

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Johannes G. Reuvers  BSc, MSc, PhD.

Former Fertilizer Plant and Production Manager, BASF, Germany.

Council member and former President, IFS.

Executive Committee member, ANNA and ANNA-EU.

This new book by Kishore Shah very comprehensively integrates the numerous facets and issues associated with ammonium nitrate and fertilizers based on ammonium nitrate.

In his career stretching over fifty years, Kish Shah was involved in issues related to occupational safety and health, security, environmental management and major hazard safety, focusing particularly on ammonia and ammonium nitrate. He has published many papers, made many presentations and made truly significant and extensive contributions to many best-practice guidance documents and international regulations. He has made a significant contribution to the development of UN transport and classification regulations.

Kish was honored with an MBE award by Queen Elizabeth in 2002 for his valuable contribution to the fertilizer industry in the field of safety. 

The book is an outstanding introduction to the field of ammonium nitrate fertilizers and outlines in detail the salient safety features surrounding ammonium nitrate. Novices to fertilizer technology, production, and safety will easily find their way to these issues, described in understandable scientific language in this book.  Kish is able to reach clear explanations for phenomena observed in the production, storage and transport of ammonium nitrate and related fertilizer.

I strongly recommend this book to all engineers and others working in the ammonium nitrate-based industries. Looking back, I wish I had enjoyed the advantage of such a comprehensive overview when I started in the fertilizer industry. 

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Martin Braithwaite  BSc(Eng)Hons, PhD(Cantab).

Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge.

Visiting Professor, University of Pardubice, Czechia.

This book constitutes a comprehensive review of safety issues involving ammonium nitrate in its pure form and as a constituent in fertilizers and energetic materials. Ammonium nitrate has featured in many accidents over the past century from a detonation event in Oppau over a hundred years ago to a chemical plant incident in Toulouse and explosion of an ammonium nitrate store in Beirut more recently. Ammonium nitrate exhibits some anomalous properties in terms of reactivity in that in its pure solid state it is unreactive and can only deflagrate at extremely high pressure or detonate from a donor explosive. When contaminated, and particularly when molten, it becomes very hazardous with the role of fires producing the melt state being a particular concern. 

The author is an internationally leading authority on ammonium nitrate safety issues and has provided in this book a complete review of ammonium nitrate technology ranging from its physico-chemical properties and determination of these, manufacturing, storage, transport and application issues and an accident history. The book concludes with sections on consequence analysis and emergency planning. This text will be of considerable interest to the fertilizer and civil explosive community, to institutions involved in the safety of hazardous chemicals as well as to legislators and planning authorities. It will also be an invaluable contribution to science and engineering technical libraries.

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