Area General Manager
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For the past four decades, French surfactant specialist CECA has served the agricultural industry and now increasingly relies on Naphthenic oils to help protect fertilisers.
Following decades of prosperity, food security is a term few in Europe spend much time thinking about, nor that it's the advent of artificial fertilisers that has allowed that peace of mind.
Getting the fertiliser from factory to field, however, poses certain challenges. How to protect the granules of fertiliser - often made of combinations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - from environmental impact, in both the dead of winter and the height of summer?
That solution is anti-caking agents, oils that create a film around the granules, protecting them against caking, dusting and moisture absorption. The anticaking agents are often heated up and sprayed onto the granules.
"The oils are carriers, and are very important as they make it possible apply the active matter on the surface of, the granules, and protect the granules against moisture," explains Isabella Santini, CECA Surfactants Business Manager. ''The oil really is both a vector and a protector."
With its experience and its dedication to research and development, CECA was well positioned to deal with a completely new challenge: the decline of Group I oil production. Nynas' product portfolio has made it a natural partner in the transition.
''Anti-caking agents is a market that matters greatly to Nynas, because our main competitors were the oil producers in Group I, which are currently shutting down one after the other," says Ghislain de Quatrebarbes, Sales Executive, Nynas.
"The Group I producers also made wax, which has also been used in anti-caking agents, and as the refineries close down there is a reformulation need. Asanti-caking makers move from wax, they have to move towards very viscous oils, and our naphthenic oils are the best suited to give them that viscosity."
"The viscosity we need depends on the challenge presented to us by our customer,” Santini explains. "We also use wax, so the combination of the two is important, and it all depends on the problem we are trying to solve. It's really case-by-case.”
CECA has its ownregulatory team making sure its products comply with applicable European legislation.
"We have a very good knowledge of our products,” Santini says. "And the regulations are always taken into account when producing new products.”
Naphthenic oils' low aromatic content is far from the only benefit to CECA.
"The oils are important for rheological reasons, as they need to suit the anti-caking manufacturer's production method;' Santini explains.
CECA prides itself on tailor-made solutions, offering not only ready-to-use liquids, but also prills and flakes that the fertiliser producers can blend themselves.
"Making NPK in Russia is not the same as producing PK in Europe, because you don't have the same range of temperatures," Santini notes. "The chemical and engineering processes are not necessarily the same. We make sure that the formulation that we provide to our customers suits not only their production methods but their performance requirements."
At CECA’s R&D centre in southeastern France, there is a dedicated team that develops anti-caking agents.
"This team not only makes formulations in the lab in Lyon, but can also provide technical assistance on site,” Santini says. "We can send our researchers to the customer for the application tests.”
Challenges do remain, however.
"We face strong competition on the market, and that has a consequence on the raw material we use,” says Santini. "So we obviously want to optimise the raw material sourcing to stay competitive; it is key in our business.”
CECA stands for Carbonisations et charbons actifs. It specialises in activated carbons and amines. CECA has worked with the fertilizer industry for more than 40 years.
Today, CECA is a global leader in specialty chemicals, producing high-performance additives to the food and agricultural industry, as well as to roads and electronics.
Surfactants, to which anti-caking agents belong. is one of CECA’s two main business areas. CECA has two factories, one in northern France, the other in Poland, and an R&D team in Lyon.
The company is now a subsidiary of the chemical group Arkema, which employs 19,000 across 50 countries and had a 7.5 billion euro turnover in 2014. Arkema reinvests 2.5 percent of its turnover in R&D, with 1,700 researchers working at 13 different locations.
Nyfert 8150 is a highly refined naphthenic oil with excellent properties for fertaliser anticaking. It solves some of the main raw material challenges faced by the industry today: its solvency helps to dissolve a broad range of amines, and its high viscosity enables lower wax consumption.
Nynas oils are used in many different applications and for various ends in the Chemical and Manufacturing Industry (CMI). Apart from Adhesives, Printing Inks, Industrial Rubber and TPE, Nynas products for CMI are used in numerous applications and for many different uses.
Here you will find a selection of Nynas Process oils based on their key characteristics, including viscosity. For more information on each product, simply download the relevant Product and Safety Data Sheets. See a collection of products