Supporting food production
As the world’s food supply is coming under increasing pressure, efficient and sustainable farming is more important than ever. Nynas supplies a wide array of products to the agriculture industry, with applications ranging from fertiliser coatings to the hydraulic systems of tractors and other farming equipment.
With a growing global population and disruptions in food production and supply chains caused by the Covid pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, the price of many foodstuffs is rising sharply. Combined with the urgency to stop deforestation to counter carbon dioxide emissions, this means that high-yielding agriculture is a top priority. How can we feed more people using less land and fewer resources?
Base oils on the farmer’s shopping list
Technology has transformed agriculture, increasing production and the quality of the produce. The most commonly used machinery includes harvesters, rotavators, ploughs, levellers, water bowsers, ripper machines and harrows. Many of these are attached to a tractor and controlled through its hydraulic system.
Nynas high-solvency base oils are widely used in lubricants for tractors, machinery and farm vehicles, as well as in transmissions, hydraulic systems, final drives and wet brakes in agricultural machinery.
The highly refined naphthenic oils’ excellent low-temperature properties mean that they can be used in the most demanding climates. Their high solvency is also essential for high-viscosity hydraulic fluids.
One important part of the jigsaw is the industrial fertilisers on which modern farming is founded, providing key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium that crops need to grow. When crops are harvested, these nutrients are removed from the soil, so farmers rely on fertilisers to maintain productivity.
Getting the fertiliser from factory to field requires anti-caking agents, which protect the nutrient granules against caking, dusting and moisture absorption. A recent study has shown that fertiliser coatings can be significantly improved through the use of Nynas NYTEX® and NYFLEX® naphthenic oils.
“Solid fertilisers tend to absorb moisture, resulting in caking and handling issues. The fertiliser can also generate dust, creating a hazardous work environment,” said Emma Öberg, Development Engineer at Nynas. “However, both these issues can be addressed using anti-caking and anti-dusting coatings. The coatings can come as a form of neat process oil or as formulated products, which can contain process oil, wax and hydrophobic amines.”
Compared to paraffinic grades, the unique characteristics of NYTEX® 820 and other naphthenic oils allow the fertiliser coating to be sprayed at lower temperatures, which is a clear advantage for processors looking at potential cost reductions.
It has also been shown that the caking tendency decreases significantly when a fertiliser is coated with NYTEX 840 compared to untreated fertilisers, as well as those treated with paraffinic oils.
“These results are of great interest to coating and fertiliser manufacturers, as they prove the efficacy of Nynas naphthenic process oils in such formulations, providing a better alternative to Group I oils, where the global supply is under pressure,” said Dr Gaia Franzolin, Nynas Global Marketing Director.