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Anhydrous ammonia is an industrial chemical with a variety of uses, and is commonly referred to as ‘ammonia’. At room temperature, ammonia is a colourless gas with an extremely pungent odour. However, ammonia is typically stored and transported under pressure as a liquefied compressed gas. Ammonia’s chemical composition is NH3, three parts hydrogen to one part Nitrogen, and (by mass) it is approximately 82% Nitrogen. Anhydrous means ‘without water,’ and typical commercial grade anhydrous ammonia contains between 0.2 – 0.5% water. Refrigeration and metallurgical grades are available with much less water; these grades are referred to as ‘dry’ ammonia.
Anhydrous ammonia is used by many industries. The fertilizer industry is by far the largest consumer, owning the majority of all ammonia production.
Ammonia can be used either as a fertilizer directly, or as a primary ingredient in the manufacturing of other fertilizer products. Industrial applications include the manufacturing of explosives, nylon and plastics, in the de-NOx of fossil fuel gasses, waste water treatment, refrigerants, heat treatment, and the manufacturing of various specialty chemicals.