Research, product evaluation and engineering functions related to fertilizer raw materials and the production of fertilizer are continually conducted within IFDC’s Research and Development Division. Activities and projects include: mineral resource evaluations; development and evaluation of new products; production of experimental fertilizer products for greenhouse and field trials; analysis and identification of fertilizer products; bench-, laboratory- and pilot-plant-scale processing studies; process design; enhancement of production efficiency; production cost analyses; environmental and safety assessments; pre-investment analyses; and project management.
Product testing and evaluation include the following key areas:
- Development and transfer of soil, nutrient and water management technologies, with a focus on improving nitrogen use efficiency, soil fertility management and use of indigenous resources such as phosphate rock.
- Research on the risk and environmental impact assessment of new technologies and the preparation of sustainability indices and improved fertilizer use recommendations.
- Integrated research, evaluation and development of existing, new and potential fertilizer technologies for commercial introduction to farmers in developing nations.
In support of these efforts, the Greenhouse Services unit (GS) at IFDC provides technical expertise and conducts experiments and evaluations in on-site greenhouses and laboratories. GS staff members also assist in conducting field trials with partner institutions and farmers. Activities generally include soil collection, set-up and execution of experiments in greenhouse and laboratory settings. IFDC technicians take detailed measurements during experiments; collect samples of soils, plants and water; and process the data to evaluate fertilizer efficiencies and inefficiencies. IFDC’s Pilot Plant Production Services unit (PPPS) conducts research on the properties and production of fertilizer materials. This product research and process evaluation takes place in the laboratories and pilot-plants at IFDC headquarters.