Innovations in 2021

We combine our ambitious plans for the future with ongoing projects and innovative implementations.

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We combine our ambitious plans for the future with ongoing projects and innovative implementations. Projects carried out in 2021 included:


Agricultural innovations:
  • SatAgro

Analysis of satellite images provides farmers with information on the condition of field crops and their variation over space and time. In this way we support precision farming in soil analysis, fertilizer application, sowing and plant protection. SatAgro also helps farmers keep records of agricultural treatments as well as collect crop maps, results of electromagnetic soil scanning, etc. In 2021, the programme covered 228 farms cooperating with the Grupa Azoty Group, spanning approximately 59,000 hectares.

SatAgro keeps developing with new functionalities added. The additions in 2021 included:

  • profitability module for mapping the profitability of arable land and detailed analysis of its components, i.e. costs and revenue, taking into account their spatial variation over different periods,
  • field notes, i.e. the possibility of adding comments and photographs to a field section,
  • possibility of integration with the Trimble platform, 
  • products and machinery search engine,
  • support of manure fertilization,
  • PDF reports with soil sampling areas and results of sample analysis,
  • new types of treatments – sowing, harvesting and irrigation / fertigation.

  • Soil scanners

Our goal is to precisely match fertilizers with specific farmlands. To this end, we use state-of-the-art soil scanners that provide farmers cooperating with the Group with precise fertilizer recommendations within minutes. This helps choose the best fertilizer for a given crop and season while reducing its consumption by about 30%. The effect is an improved production efficiency of arable land. In 2021, 206 farms used soil scanning, with 1,986 soil scans performed.

  • Production of liquid fertilizer with increased sulfur content

Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn launched the production of a new liquid fertilizer with increased sulfur content. RSM S 28-5 is a urea-nitrate solution containing 28% of nitrogen and 5% of sulfur. The fertilizer is designed for use in all types of soil, for all field crops, amenity grassland and vegetables. It is produced with due regard to the natural environment. The production unit does not generate any hazardous waste or pollutant air emissions. After filtration, the process wastewater is recirculated to a tank.

  • New calcium fertilizer from Grupa Azoty Chorzów

Grupa Azoty Chorzów added to its portfolio CalHumus TM Extra, a speciality calcium fertilizer, produced from 07a chalk deposits with high organic matter and humic acids content. CalHumus is intended for agricultural and specialised crops to improve the physico-chemical properties of the soil and to increase crop yields. It is environmentally friendly and meets the European Green Deal objectives.

  • State-of-the-art and environmentally-friendly NPK fertilizers

Fosfarm® is a new line of compound fertilizers manufactured in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, including circular economy. They are enriched with calcium, sulfur and micronutrients, such as copper and zinc. The phosphorus content, as well as the calcium, magnesium and micronutrients, come from renewable sources only. The new fertilizers allow agricultural producers to comply with the applicable environmental regulations and requirements.

Fosfarm® is one of a dozen or so projects run by the Group which will comply with the European Green Deal.

  • Marketing urea with urease inhibitor

We have marketed urea with urease inhibitor under the trade name Pulrea® + INu. It is a universal nitrogen fertilizer that can be used for all crops. It is recommended to be used for presowing of spring plants, i.e. maize, sunflower, spring cereals, and top dressing of winter plants, including winter cereals and winter rapeseed. The inhibitor temporarily blocks urease, i.e. a natural enzyme that causes decomposition of urea. This prolongs the effect of the fertilizer application and significantly reduces nitrogen losses caused by volatile ammonia escape. The use of urea with urease inhibitor makes it possible to meet the requirements of the EU NEC Directive for fertilizers, providing for a reduction of ammonia emissions into the atmosphere. What is more, lower ammonia emissions into the atmosphere are one of the objectives of the European Green Deal.

  • Humic acid line

A pilot line for the production of humic acids, with an annual capacity of 2,500 tonnes of Tohumus (the main product), was launched at the Grupa Azoty S.A. Implementation Centre. The new line was developed through research work carried out at the Grupa Azoty Research and Development Centre in Tarnów. It also marks another step taken by Grupa Azoty in its pursuit of the European Green Deal objectives.

Tohumus supports regenerative agriculture by recreating and maintaining crop yield potential. Soils in Poland have a low humus content. Natural factors such as climate, the high share of sandy soils and their acidification are not conducive to accumulating and retaining a stable content of humic substances – the main components of soil organic matter. Tohumus is a response to these challenges, as introduction of humic compounds into the soil is one of the methods to increase production of good quality food while maintaining soil fertility.

Humic acids are produced based on a proprietary technology for making growth stimulators from a natural raw material, that is lignite. The process takes place in relatively low temperatures (40–50°C), which do not cause thermal degradation of humic acid chains, thus increasing their efficacy in agricultural applications. The efficacy of Tohumus was evaluated by the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute in Puławy and by the National Institute of Horticultural Research in Skierniewice. Both institutions confirmed a considerable crop yield potential of the product. The production of Tohumus is consistent with the idea of circular economy and does not generate any additional waste.

  • Granulated fertilizer unit

Grupa Azoty Puławy brought online a granulated fertilizer plant. Apart from the production lines, it includes Poland's most advanced packing and seasoning facilities. The first line was pre-commissioned in July 2020, with continuous fertilizer production launched in 2021. The plant is one of the largest fertilizer projects completed in Poland in recent years, creating new jobs at Grupa Azoty Puławy.

Mechanically granulated ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate manufactured at the plant are an answer to the growing demand from large-scale agriculture in Poland and Europe. The application of fertilizers in the form of larger-diameter granules offers a wider spread pattern, which improves sowing efficiency, especially on large farms. They are therefore a product of first choice for foreign customers, and demand for such fertilizers is expected to grow also in the Polish market given the ongoing land consolidation process.

In addition to the production units, the project also involved the construction of infrastructure and logistics facilities for unloading and processing of raw materials, as well as a warehouse for finished products and a packing facility, which was equipped with fully automated machines for packing fertilizers into flexible containers (big bags), the only solution of this type deployed in Poland. Under the operator's supervision, the machines take empty containers, fill them with the product, secure the packaging against spilling, label it and transport it over a line of conveyors to the reception and dispatch point. The capacity of two packing machines is about 180 tonnes per hour (some 4,300 tonnes/day).

  • Technology for obtaining potassium thiosulfate

At the end of November 2021, Grupa Azoty Puławy completed four years of work on an innovative project entitled ‘Development of a technology for the production of potassium thiosulfate using flue gases from sulfuric acid plants and production of potassium thiosulfate-based compound liquid fertilizers’. The purpose of the P-Thios project was to develop a technology for obtaining potassium thiosulfate solution using waste gases containing small amounts of sulfur oxides from the sulfuric acid unit and compound fertilizers based on urea-ammonium nitrate solution and potassium thiosulfate. The project delivered a complete production technology, tested on a prototype unit constructed as part of the project.

A potassium sulfate production technology was developed as a result of absorption of sulfur dioxide from the sulfuric acid unit. This reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere by approximately 90%, which lowers GHG emissions and fits into the circular economy model. The innovative technologies enable the production of ultra high purity product with high UV radiation stability. The solution can be used as a stand-alone liquid potassium and sulfur fertilizer, as well as a feedstock for the production of liquid compound fertilizers.

Following the official completion of the research and development phase, the project entered a durability period. Work is under way to implement the project deliverables.

  • Strategic partnership with Microsoft

We have entered into an agreement with Microsoft to use the cloud technology in, among others, precision agriculture, fostering technological initiatives that change the manufacturing sector, and expanding the competencies of the Group’s employees. Under the agreement, Grupa Azoty, supported by Microsoft and Microsoft Technology Center experts, will launch an incubator for start-ups – technological initiatives at an early growth stage, focusing on the chemical industry. Moreover, the use of Innovation Alley and Microsoft Technology Center will allow our teams and young entrepreneurs to hold strategy sessions and prototype new solutions in an innovative environment, as well as jointly develop their competencies in using cloud computing. One of the areas of cooperation between the Grupa Azoty Group and Microsoft will be the development of satellite imaging techniques used in precision agriculture based on cloud computing. Ground-breaking solutions in non-invasive soil analytics relying on satellite data will support Grupa Azoty customers in wide-ranging optimisation of agricultural crop management.

Innovation in the Plastics segment:
  • Green amber

We continue our work to develop an environmentally-friendly technology for succinic acid production. We intend to develop a method for succinic acid biosynthesis using a safe and high-efficiency microbiological biocatalyst which could be used in the processing of renewable and waste materials that have not found their applications in other industries. In 2021, we tested, among other things, the effect of genetic modifications of a micro-organism on the process. The business objective of the research is to construct, under a separate investment process, and subsequently launch a production unit with an annual capacity of 45 thousand tonnes based on the developed technology.


We have developed a commercially viable as well as economically and technologically efficient method of producing ε-caprolactone, a feedstock for biodegradable plastics made from raw materials available at Grupa Azoty Puławy. The construction of a pilot production unit was completed in 2020, while in 2021 the work focused on optimising the heating and cooling systems to improve the efficiency of the test unit. The business objective of the project is to construct, under a separate investment process, a production unit with an annual capacity of 5 thousand tonnes.

  • Plastics Application Design and Development Centre

Work began to transform the existing Plastics Laboratory into the Plastics Application Design and Development Centre. It will include specialist departments which will be responsible for developing new plastic and compounding products, customer service and research. The new structure will allow us to fully adapt to ever-growing requirements of our customers.

  • Accreditation from Polish Centre for Accreditation (PCA)

he Plastics Business Segment has applied for PCA accreditation of the Plastics Application Design and Development Centre in accordance with Standard 17025. The accreditation will help us meet the expectations of our customers, including the automotive sector, in terms of compliance with the requirements of the IATF 16049 standard, while improving the credibility of our research. The Centre will also expand its commercial activities to include analyses of biodegradable plastics.


  • Thermoplastic starch production technology and inclusion of biodegradable plastics in the product portfolio

Grupa Azoty S.A. has launched a pilot line for the production of thermoplastic starch, with a capacity of 300 tonnes per year. It has also acceded to cooperation agreements with Polska Grupa Opakowaniowa Opakomet S.A. and the Forestry Research Institute, and signed a letter of intent with the State Forests National Forest Holding. Thermoplastic starch is fully biodegradable and perfectly suitable for producing eco-friendly plant pots, packaging and fertilizers. The polymer is made from potatoes.

  • Start of work on implementing the ISCC+ system

The Plastics Business Segment started work on implementing the ISCC Plus standard for polyamide 6. The standard covers the use of sustainable feedstocks, semi-finished products and products (including circular ones) in industrial production. The objective of the ISCC Plus standard is to reduce the consumption of fossil resources in favour of renewable materials.

Production innovations:
  • Expansion of the Oxoplast Segment’s product portfolio

The Oxoplast™ Segment’s portfolio has now been expanded to include new speciality products, i.e. Oxofine™ TOTM and Oxofine™ Poly2k – the first polymeric speciality plasticizer in the offering. Compared with other monomeric plasticizers and other TOTMs available on the market, Oxofine™ TOTM stands out for its high resistance to chemicals. It also ensures increased resistance to high temperatures. The new plasticizer guarantees long-lasting performance characteristics of the finished product. Oxofine™ TOTM is mainly used in the production of electric cables and wires, the automotive industry and medicine.

Oxofine™ Poly2K is the first polymeric plasticizer in the Oxoplast™ segment’s product portfolio. Created as a result of intensive research and development work, the plasticizer is manufactured using the Grupa Azoty Group’s proprietary technology. Oxofine™ Poly2k is designed to be used in plastics processing. It is a functional additive that gives finished products specific qualities, although in some applications it can be used as the main plasticizer. We recommend using Oxofine™ Poly2k in the production of toys, cables, cords, garden hoses, textiles, paints, varnishes, etc.

  • Advanced control system (APC) for ammonia units

The deployment of the advanced control system has reduced the carbon footprint of one of the eight ammonia lines by more than 20 kg CO2 per tonne of ammonia. This helped reduce natural gas consumption per tonne of ammonia by at least 1% and improve the process steam balance at the unit by at least 1.3%. The positive effects justify implementation of the APC system on the other ammonia lines, and in the future the system will be introduced for other technological processes as well. The system was developed as one of the R&D projects carried out in Puławy under the INNOCHEM sectoral programme.

  • Implementation of oxygen dosing technology

Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn completed the implementation of an innovative oxygen dosing technology for the TK IV and TK V nitric acid unit. The project was implemented in partnership with the Łukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute, and led to ramping up nitric acid production by approximately 120 tonnes of 100% nitric acid equivalent per day. This means a nearly 8% increase in production.


  • Development of Polish catalysts

Grupa Azoty S.A. and the Łukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute have signed a letter of intent confirming further reinforcement of their long-standing cooperation in catalyst development. The cooperation will be expanded by leveraging the parties’ experience, knowledge and know-how. The letter was signed during the Conference of Polish Catalyst Manufacturers and Users. We jointly declared that we would continue our scientific, research and implementation work, taking into account the specific nature of catalysts as well as their commercial and scientific potential, and that we would search for and develop new catalyst manufacturing technologies. In line with the letter, Grupa Azoty S.A. and the Łukasiewicz Research Network – New Chemical Syntheses Institute will also step up their promotional, marketing and sales activities. The parties will continue to share information and experience in the field of catalysts.

Other innovations
  • Training simulator in Puławy

An innovative training system was pilot-implemented at the non-pressurised ammonia storage and distribution facility and at one section of the ammonia unit (Synthesis Department) in Puławy. Since 2021, employees of Grupa Azoty Puławy have been able to put their emergency response skills to test in the virtual world. Three scenarios were developed to train operators in emergency situations and provide instructional on-the-job training in the virtual working environment.

  • ‘Development Directions of Energy Innovations’ at Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn

Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn is in the process of implementing the New Energy Concept, a key project to ensure energy security of the company and Kędzierzyn-Koźle residents. It is largely based on the use of process heat from chemical units to produce electricity and other energy carriers.

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