Corporate Social Responsibilty
Apache produces nitric acid and ammonium nitrate-based products for the mining, industrial and agricultural markets of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Our business, in the simplest terms, is to convert anhydrous ammonia into ammonium nitrate products. We purchase anhydrous ammonia (NH3) in railcars from the Midwest and Gulf Coast of the U.S., and the ammonia is unloaded into our Ammonia Transfer and Storage System. Apache uses a refrigeration process that recovers ammonia from the process and uses the pressurized ammonia vapor to then push the ammonia from the railcars. This process uses the lowest amount of energy and eliminates pumping and transfer points.Nitric Acid
The stored liquid ammonia is vaporized with heat and the vapor enters our Nitric Acid Plant, where the vapor is mixed with air and reacted across a platinum & rhodium catalyst at approximately 1650ºF. The resulting nitrogen oxide (NOX) gases are further oxidized with air, cooled and absorbed into condensate (distilled water), and producing high purity nitric acid (HNO3) at 58 - 61% strength.Liquid Ammonium Nitrate
Some of the acid we produce is sold for use in stainless steel processing industry, the production of pectin for baking products, and further chemical processing or in fertilizer blends. Most of the nitric acid, however, becomes feedstock for our Liquid Ammonium Nitrate (LAN) Plant. In this process, the acid (HNO3) is reacted with more ammonia (NH3), forming liquid ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) at a concentration of 82% to 84%. Roughly 40% of the LAN produced is converted into liquid fertilizers, or sold for further processing into emulsions and use in the mining industry to produce blasting agents.Prilled Ammonium Nitrate
The remaining 60% of the LAN goes to our Prill Plant, where water is boiled off and concentrating the solution to roughly 96% - 97% strength. The solution is then pumped to the top of a 220 foot tower and forced through spray heads. The liquid emerges as droplets, which free-fall through an upward current of cooling air, and forming spheres or “Prills” as they spin in the air and reach the bottom of the tower. The resultant product is known as low-density Prilled ammonium nitrate (LDPAN) or porous Prilled ammonium nitrate (PPAN). A special additive can be added to the LDPAN to produce EXPAN™, which is a proprietary product.
The LDPAN is shipped to the mines, where it is mixed with a small amount of fuel oil, forming ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO) or (EXPANFO™). ANFO and EXPANFO™ and blends with emulsions are the primary blasting agent used in surface mining operations today.AN-20 Fertilizer
Apache’s nitrogen-based fertilizer solutions are used extensively throughout the fall and winter months to grow vegetables in the region around Yuma, Arizona and also in the Imperial, Santa Maria and Salinas valleys of southern California and the Coachella area of Mexico. Our AN-20 fertilizer is particularly effective in growing lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus. The product is distinctive in that half of the nitrogen becomes usable by the plants and with visible results in growth and color virtually overnight. The other half of the nitrogen is released more slowly providing sustained plant development. A small amount of our product is used by nurseries for trees, shrubs, house plants, and for hydroponic needs.Aqua Ammonia (Apache Abate NOx)
The Power Generation Industry, like our industry, faces an ongoing challenge to protect the environment by minimizing releases of NOx to the air. Power Generation Plants now use Aqua Ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) in conjunction with a Zeolite catalyst to reduce harmful emissions by breaking down nitrogen oxide gases into simple nitrogen (N2) and water (H20), a key focus in evolving clean air regulations. Apache helps meet this need by providing high purity Aqua Ammonia, a blend of anhydrous ammonia and ultra high purity demineralized water at a strength of 18.5% to 19.5%. Apache is uniquely qualified and positioned to provide this product to power generators throughout the Southwest.