New phyllosilicate-based fertilizer developed at Tomsk Polytechnic University

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) have developed the production of fertilizers from mining waste, which will be 1.5-3 times cheaper than analogs and will help to avoid nitrogen poisoning of the environment.

The application of traditional nitrogen-based fertilizers often leads to excess nitrogen compounds, which negatively affect the quality of soil and water. To solve this problem, scientists proposed to use fertilizers with a prolonged or controlled rate of nitrogen release.

The new fertilizer consists of a nitrogen-containing part and stabilizers, which are usually polymers that inhibit the release of nitrogen. The TPU scientists suggested using phyllosilicates instead. It’s clay minerals with a layered structure. They are on average 1.5-3 times cheaper than polymers.

“As a result of our research, we have received a product with two types of nitrogen, each of which will have its own rate of release in the soil,” said Maksim Rudmin Associate Professor at TPU.

The TPU researchers studied mixtures based on two clay minerals, smectite and glauconite with carbamide. Scientists noted that they studied environmentally friendly and cheap minerals, which are often stored as mining waste.

Smectite, for example, has a good swelling capacity, which ensures high-quality encapsulation of nitrogen. Glauconite is not only an effective stabilizer but also an additional source of potassium for plants.

“The study allowed us to select the optimal parameters, like the ratio of the mineral and the nutrient and the time and type of activation, to obtain composites with the required structure,” explained Maksim Rudmin.

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