Years ago, a late night fire started next to a 10,000-ton urea storage in Channelview, Texas. It consumed three wood structures built against the Monolithic Dome. Over 300 gallons of transformer oil fueled the blaze. For an hour, strong winds blew the inferno directly over the dome.
A new 29-foot-tall Monolithic Dome has been erected in Whitewright, Texas to provide storage for ammonium nitrate. The dome is located at the EDC Ag Products Company LLC (EDC Ag) facility and will give storage for 1,000 tons of the chemical. The construction of the 58-foot diameter dome was a cooperative effort among the community and EDC Ag.
In response to the deadly explosion six months ago in West, Texas, Federal agencies will soon be making recommendations to Congress on how to reduce the risk at fertilizer storage facilities. Should igloos (Monolithic Domes) be among the ideas? During a recent interview with Dave Fehling that appears on the website StateImpact.NPR.org, David South answers that question.
The ammonium nitrate storage in West, Texas that exploded on April 17 illustrates how other structures could have that same problem.
Farmland Industries, the largest cooperative of farmers and ranchers in North America, completed a two-dome facility for storage of dry fertilizer in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. The larger dome is 120’ in diameter and 60’ high, while the smaller is 115’ in diameter and 58’ high.
Monolithic Constructors Poland (MCP) has started construction on three large fertilizer storage domes in Estonia, a former Soviet state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe that, unlike many countries in that area, has a high-income economy. Jan Pregowski, chief executive of MCP, signed the contract for these Monolithic Domes last year, but due to a severe winter, MCP had to wait until now to inflate and start construction.
When I asked Don Smith, manager of Highland Growers in DeRidder, Louisiana, how they like the dome they’ve been using since October 2011, he said, “We like it – very much.” In particular, he added, “We like it because it’s climate controlled. It doesn’t get the moisture in there that our old, wood plant did. At the old plant, we used to have probably 15 to 20 ton of ruined fertilizer in a year. That’s a lot of money. We don’t have waste in the dome. It stays dry and cool.”
What’s a fertilizer blend plant’s number-one enemy? Moisture! If water gets into or condensation forms inside a storage unit, it quite quickly begins degrading the fertilizer and forming rust. But Monolithic uses a technology that keeps that troublesome process to a minimum.
Knowing that a Monolithic Dome would make an ideal fertilizer storage, in 1978 I sent information to a fertilizer magazine. They wrote an article, featuring the Monolithic Dome as a new product, and I received a call from Bill Matthews in Chandler, Oklahoma. Bill wanted a fertilizer storage dome on a site just off America’s famous U.S. 66.
Monolithic, Inc. has been building fertilizer storage facilities for decades. The strong, steel-reinforced concrete structures are well-suited for chemical storage because they can handle the corrosive elements in the fertilizer. They also can withstand the abuse of front loaders and other heavy machinery used to move the chemicals from one location to another. An added bonus is the dome’s energy-efficiency, which makes air-conditioning them cost-efficient, keeping condensation to a minimum.
When we started the El Dorado Chemical Company plant in early 2010, we started doing some research on different additives to put in the concrete, to help with its chemical resistance. Early in our research, we came across an additive called MetaMax.
Last month I was able to visit the fertilizer blend plant that we built in Bryan Texas, and it was really exciting to hear what the managers of the plant had to say.
Information regarding the Monolithic Fertilizer Blend Plant Domes.
You can’t successfully operate a blend plant in any structure. It takes a building specifically designed for that job. This ten-minute, easy-to-follow and understand video explains and illustrates the advantages of a Monolithic Dome designed and constructed as a blend plant. The video describes the technologically sophisticated process and formula used in Monolithic Dome construction. It also details Monolithic advantages, many of which simply are not available in other structure types. They include: disaster resistance, super insulation that prevents interior temperature fluctuations, strength and durability.
El Dorado Chemical Company now has two new Monolithic Domes. The smaller dome, that has a 40-foot diameter, will warehouse various bagged chemicals. The larger dome has a 95-foot diameter, eight storage bins and state-of-the-art equipment for the blending of various fertilizers. A giant, metal, patio cover connects the two.
A Monolithic Dome makes an ideal fertilizer blend plant that mixes, packages, stores and distributes specialty chemicals for various agricultural purposes. These domes contain many large bins used to store phosphorus, potash and nitrogen in various forms, as well as other micronutrients such as iron, chrome or zinc. From these ingredients, hundreds of different fertilizer formulas can be created.