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Manufacture of Potassium-Containing Fertilizers


Development of Technological Process for Reception of New Type of Potassium-Containing Fertilizers, Creation and Testing of Experimental Installation

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry
  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Mitina L M

Leading Institute
Tbilisi State University, Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Membrane Technologies of Georgia, Georgia, Batumi


  • OstWestTransfer e.K., Germany, Regis-Breitingen

Project summary

The purpose of the project is development of non-reagent technological process for concentrating and separating of potassium combinations from other elements; creation and demonstration of experimental field installation for manufacture of new type potassium-containing fertilizers. The project objectives will be achieved by using Black Sea water as a potassium source and natural zeolite -“klinoptilolite”as a substratum.

For achievement of project objectives carrying out of following works are necessary:

  • Establishment kinetics of sorption of ion-exchanging process during seawater treatment by klinoptilolite, at laboratory conditions.
  • Elaboration of principally new two-temperature, reagent-less method for concentrating and separating potassium from seawater.
  • Establishment of the most important physical and chemical constants and technical and economic parameters from the data received in laboratory conditions and directly during natural tests at Black Sea cost.
  • Establishment of technological parameters for working of field experimental installation and development of a full cycle of technological process for reception of samples of end products.
  • Designing, creation and testing of experimental installation.

Currently in Georgia, country of intensive agriculture, the problem of meeting the demand in mineral potassium-containing fertilizers is very urgent. The specified problem also exists in Southern Caucasus and Black Sea coastal countries, where potassium-containing minerals are absent. Taking into account, that in these countries an agrarian industry is the main branch of country economy, the problem put forward by us defines an urgency of development of technological process and creation of working installation for reception ecologically clean potassium-containing fertilizers. Recent years, big interest to nontraditional methods of potash and complex fertilizers reception is shown. Experimental-scientific research works held in Japan, USA, China and Russia have showed that, sorption methods of potassium extraction from ocean and seawater considered being most perspective in nearest future.

In project, scheme of potassium concentration form seawater is offered. During researches found out, in «sea water - klinoptilolite» system changing of sorption process temperature causes sharp change of sorbent selectivity for ions of metals. Potassium concentration pattern in crystal lattice of klinoptilolite, received by extraction of these ions from seawater without using any chemical reagents, offered by us is based on above effect. Low cost and high physical-chemical stability of received potassium fertilizer makes offered technology advantageous.

For successful implementation of the project following are available: are highly qualified and skilled specialists in the field of analytical and physical chemistry; results received during studying problem in laboratory conditions; results of tests on using potash klinoptilolite fertilizers for various soil types with different plants; positive results of patent search; base for experimental installation testing on Black Sea coast and already worked method for extraction of local natural klinoptiloite resources. As a source of potassium containing solution Black Sea water be used- where content of potassium makes about 180-204 mg per liter.

During project implementation achieving of the following results is planned:


Establishing mechanism of kinetics of chemical processes proceeded on model installation and also revealing conditions of balance of phases in installation working systems. The mechanism of sorption process and optimal conditions of its proceeding in multi-component systems will be found out.


Preliminary technical and economic estimations showed that, cost price of zeolite potassium mineral fertilizer makes 90-100 US dollars per ton.


In the Caucasus, the Black Sea basin and Middle East countries potassium fertilizers are imported from other countries. Therefore, ecologically clean zeolite potassium fertilizer developed by us will have commercial success in sea coast regions having on one hand deficit in potassium fertilizer and large supplies of natural zeolite – klinoptilolite on the other hand. Installation can be sold to the agrarian countries located on ocean or the sea- coast.


Usage of new fertilizer excludes accumulation of nitrates in plants and infection by pathogens. Gives improved results in regulation of live biochemical processes in plants and water systems, which by a chain are distributed to living organisms. It is necessary to note that usage of potassium-containing fertilizers makes it possible to lower environmental contamination and receive clean natural products.

The project enables scientists and experts earlier «engaged in military research» to be reoriented on peace activity. Realization of the project will support applied researches and development of technologies in field of natural resource use; promote the decision of national and international technological problems, in particular supplying population and agriculture with environment-friend, high quality fertilizer of long action period.

Novelty of the suggested project is as follows:

  • The question of klinoptilolite enrichment with potassium and creation of economically and environmentally expedient technology is principally new.
  • Establishment of physical-chemical regularities of balance, kinetics and dynamics for sorption processes in multi-component systems.
  • The new concept of seawater treatment process is offered. Concept will be tested during potassium yielding from seawater.

In technological process proceeding on experimental installation, use of modern analytical devices for controlling of operating conditions is stipulated. There following analytical methods will be used: conductimetric analyzing general salt content, complexometric, potentiometric analysis, turbidimetric analysis, mercurometry and gravimetry for analyzing separated components. The chemical analysis of seawater, will be carried out by standard methods of definition potassium in water before and after of its concentration on a fiery photometer. Received results will be used for updating the current technological process cycle. For establishment of mechanism of ion-exchanging process during processing sea water by klinoptilolite at natural conditions, influence of a degree of dispersity of zeolite granules, time of cathions flow, degree of swelling and saturation of zeolite will be investigated. Simultaneously, the opportunity of application of dialysis method, for realization of selective separating of potassium cathions from others cathions (Са, Мg, Sr, Na) existing in seawater will be investigated.

For establishing mechanism of kinetics of sorption and ion-exchanging processes during processing sea water in laboratory conditions, following are available: installation for carrying out of the fractional analysis and studying kinetics of sorption process; laboratory equipped with following: an infra-red spectrometer, gas-liquid chromatograph, polarimeter, polarograph, electro-dialyser etc.

The potential role of collaborator will consist of the following: to communicate during realization of the project, to represent comments on quarter, annual and final reports, cooperation at discussion of technical parameters for working of experimental installation, participation during final test of experimental installation and in working meetings.

We hope that, successful implementation the project works will serve a reliable base for development of chemical and agrarian industries and will also assist sustainable development of environment.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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