Honeywell can be commended in the development of its new ammonium nitrate-based fertilizer, which the company said is not only as effective as the traditional product but it has lower explosive potential, which is very significant when it comes to cutting back potential terrorism activities.
Hard as it may be, the chemical industry should do its part in developing chemicals that cannot be easily used by terrorists, especially those that are commercially accessible such as fertilizers.
According to Honeywell, the new technology has already received SAFETY Act Designation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). When mixed with fuel oil -- a common method of using ammonium nitrate as an explosive -- Honeywell said the new ammonium sulfate nitrate fertilizer did not detonate.
"The unique composition of this new fertilizer makes it extremely difficult to turn it into a weapon. Ammonium nitrate has long been an excellent fertilizer, but this technology makes it safer."Honeywell is conducting pilot plant test production of the new fertilizer to finalize scale-up and engineering for manufacturing, and is also in talks with potential manufacturing partners. The company hopes to have limited quantities for sale in certain regions in 2009 and plans to market the material as Sulf-N® 26 fertilizer.