Technion proposes safer chemical storage

Joint Israeli-Jordanian factory for production of ammonia to solve problems of Haifa Bay's ammonia storage facility.

Haifa Petro 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Haifa Petro 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A joint Israeli-Jordanian factory for the production of ammonia - for making fertilizer and other products - to solve the problems of Haifa Bay's ammonia storage facility has been proposed by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. Prof. Danny Levin and students from the chemical engineering faculty were invited by the Haifa City Association to find ways to transfer the ammonia facility from Haifa to the South because of environmental and security risks in its present location. The students' fourth-year project was to suggest a way to turn the money-losing facility into a profitable one while ensuring safety and protecting the environment. An ammonia leak could endanger the lungs of neighbors and even pose the danger of death. Ammonia is not manufactured in Haifa, but imported and stored in the Haifa tanks. During the Second Lebanon War, residents were very fearful that a Hizbullah rocket would hit the facility and set off an environmental disaster. Levin said he wanted students to finish their studies less as technocrats and more as involved with people's problems and taking a global approach. They worked for three semesters on a problem that experienced engineers had failed to solve and came up with a way to manufacture ammonia naturally, safely and efficiently. They reached the conclusion that it was not economically viable to manufacture ammonia for Israel alone, as any facility would produce three times what Israel needs. Instead, they said a partnership should be formed with Jordan to manufacturer the chemical at Rotem in the South, close to the Jordanian border. The area already has a facility to manufacture fertilizers from Haifa Chemicals' ammonia.