Transforming ag waste into urea fertilizer
An Indispensable Global Industry
The market for urea is strong and growing. Urea accounts for 60% of total nutrient consumption worldwide and is anticipated to reach 70 percent by the end of 2020. According to a study conducted by the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) in 2010, global demand for urea will grow at 3.8 percent per year from 2009 to approximately 192.5 million tons in 2014; the bulk of this increase is expected to come from growing demand for urea fertilizer. The IFA also forecasted that industrial applications for urea, accounting for 12 percent of total consumption, are expected to grow by 7 percent per year between 2009 and 2014. In a study conducted by the IFA in May 2011, demand for urea is predicted to increase 10.7 percent from 168.6 million tons to 188.8 million tons in 2014.
In North America, consumption of urea has grown by 1.2 percent per year for the past six years. In 2009, the IFA estimated that North American consumption was 14.3 million tons annually. In the United States alone, in 2009, the IFA estimated that urea consumption was at 11.44 million tons, while production came to just 6.38 million tons. The IFA stated that with growing demand and unchanged capacity, urea imports by the United States are likely to grow to around 7.7 million tons per year.