Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran
Purpose The present work reports an economically attractive improvement in the area of producing particulate slow release nitrogen fertilizer using lignin as a waste effluent of pulp and paper manufacturing process. Methods An improved coating of modified lignin was applied on the surfaces of the individual urea particles. The Kraft and Sulfite black liquors obtained from two different paper pulping units and were used as sources of sulfate and sulfite lignin, respectively. Chemical modification of extracted lignin was performed through acetylation reaction by acetic acid/sodium metabisulfite to increase its hydrophobicity character. In a separate experiment, a thin layer of synthesized acetylated lignin was coated on granular urea by fluidized-bed technique. The nitrogen release of synthesized fertilizer in the water and soil was examined by the Kjeldahl method. Results The analysis of FTIR spectra indicated the changes in the functional groups of acetylated lignin. Petrographic photography and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses demonstrated a uniform and homogeneous covering of the urea surface. The 7 day nitrogen release rate of urea coated by acetylated lignin in soil was obtained 36.3 and 45.3 % for Kraft and Sulfite lignin, respectively, whereas this value was 59 % for sulfur coated urea. Conclusions Using industrial wastewater as source of lignin gives satisfactory results for industrial applications and yields a quality green fertilizer product with reduced operation difficulties while considerably preserving the environment.