An $18 million outsourcing agreement and facility upgrade for Yara S.p.A.’s Ferrara, Italy, plant with industrial water treatment leader GE (NYSE: GE) is helping meet increasing customer demands for profitability and reliability. The plant in Ferrara supplies ammonia and urea liquids fertilizers to agricultural markets, which are growing strongly. But while production of these products requires copious amounts of clean water, the plant must rely on brackish, low-quality surface water sources.
Yara S.p.A., a unit of Yara International ASA (YAR.OL), world leader in mineral fertilizers, outsourced its Ferrara water treatment operations to GE in 2005 to reduce costs, increase reliability and focus on its main businesses. With the recent contract expansion, GE will continue to build, own and operate the water treatment plant with onsite GE personnel through 2020. The facility currently produces up to 320 m3/hr of demineralized water using two proprietary GE technologies: brackish water reverse osmosis filtration (BWRO) and electrodeionization (EDI). GE’s technology is mobile and can be set up quickly, providing cost savings and emergency backup.
“The arrangement we have with GE enables us to capitalize on more favorable market conditions, which can be fleeting. We are confident we can meet the strong demands for fertilizers at acceptable margins because we can find alternative sources of water, and it also gives us substantial cost savings,” said Frank De Vogelaere, plant manager, Yara’s Ferrara, Italy, plant. “The cost savings come in two ways: we don’t have to buy expensive demineralized water from an outside supplier, and we have avoided production losses caused by low-quality water. Our expanding activities with GE are a direct result of GE’s performance over the years, and thus we have evolved out of a traditional supplier-vendor relationship into a more effective collaboration.”
GE’s relationship with Yara S.p.A. grew out of a 2002 supply agreement for water treatment chemicals and related systems, which is ongoing. It has helped Yara avoid boiler shutdowns that occurred with a previous supplier, which were costing Yara a substantial amount per year in lost production. Also, since 2007, Yara has outsourced to GE its condensate polishing requirements: filtration of condensed water from boiler steam to prevent deposition and corrosions which can damage equipment and lead to energy inefficiencies.
“We have worked hard over a period of years to help Yara meet its business goals and are proud of our supporting role in their success,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. “To truly support customers requires not just the best technology and a deep knowledge of industrial applications plus a dedicated corps of field personnel, it also requires the right attitude. Our attitude is that we exist to help our customers do their jobs better and at less overall cost. That is why we pioneered and have built, owned and operated hundreds of water treatment plants for customers around the world, in scores of different industries, which enable them to get on with their own businesses and not have to worry about water-related issues.”
For both the recent Yara upgrade and for the condensate polishing plant, GE is supplying all water treatment equipment, plus engineering and design, pipe work, electrical installation and all other site-related requirements, as well as spare parts and field service representatives for the lives of the agreements.
Yara International ASA (yara.com) is the world's leading chemical company that converts energy, natural minerals and nitrogen from the air into essential products for farmers and industrial customers. As the number one global supplier of mineral fertilizers, Yara helps provide food for a growing world population. Its industrial product portfolio includes environmental protection agents that prevent air pollution. Yara's global workforce of 7,600 employees represents the great diversity and knowledge that enables Yara to remain a leading performer in the industry.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy ge.com/energy—GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas—work together with more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.
Howard Masto, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: howard.masto[.]ge.com.
Beth Coffman, Masto Public Relations
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