“Ashes to ashes, potash is made.” Did you know, up to 10% of wood ash can be recovered as potash? Potash is utilized as an agricultural fertilizer because of its excellent source of soluble potassium. Potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound found in potash. A potent base, potassium hydroxide (KOH) is marketed in several forms, including pellets, flakes, and powders, and is used in various chemical, industrial, and manufacturing applications.
One of the many industries potassium hydroxide benefits is the agriculture industry. The low salt index and high solubility of potassium hydroxide makes it ideal for liquid fertilizer mixtures. Potassium strengthens plant root systems, which fortifies disease resistance in plants, increases yields and overall quality of crops, prevents wilt, and improves drought tolerance of crops.
Origin and Sourcing
Caustic potash was originally derived from wood ashes. Historically, pioneers leached the ashes from their wood fires to harvest potassium carbonate for use in making soap. The term potash (pot-ash) originates from this tradition, referring to the pots and ashes used by the pioneers in the leaching process. When vigorously heated, potassium carbonate gives off carbon dioxide gas, resulting in potassium oxide. Reacting potassium oxide with water then produces potassium hydroxide.
Current Day Production
Potassium Hydroxide is currently manufactured using electrolysis utilizing membrane cell technology. Potassium salt (in the form of brine) is electrolyzed to produce potassium hydroxide, chlorine, and hydrogen.
5 Ways Potassium Hydroxide Benefits the Agriculture Industry
- Potassium hydroxide is used to produce fertilizers that supply the element potassium (one of the major plant foods) to crops, especially to those crops which cannot tolerate chloride ions. Potassium is one of the “Big 3” nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) that provide the foundational nutrients of today’s commercial fertilizers.
- Liquid forms of potassium are used for in-furrow application as a starter fertilizer. These fertilizer forms are manufactured with either potassium chloride (KCI) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). Fertilizers containing potassium hydroxide are safer for seed placement as they form potassium-phosphate compounds that don’t contribute to the fertilizer’s salt content.
- It is also used in herbicides and fungicides.
- As an alkali, potassium hydroxide helps regulate the pH of acidic soils.
- A mixture of phosphoric acid (non-pesticide compound) and potassium hydroxide is regularly sprayed on plants for pest and disease prevention. This practice leaves harvested crops free of pesticide residue.
Other Industries That Rely on Potassium Hydroxide
- Airline industry for de-icing runways
- Soaps and Detergent
- The food industry for food additives
- The oil industry for drilling and biodiesel production
- Super absorbent polymers.
Noah Chemicals provides critical chemical components and potassium hydroxide and all chemicals necessary to meet the needs of the agriculture industry. To learn more about Noah Chemicals and Noah Chemicals Services experience with the agriculture industry, please contact us here.