Research and development

We constantly review our extraction and production processes with regard to the use of the resources available to us and enhance our procedures and products. Global change is giving rise to additional fields of activity in the search for innovative solutions, even beyond our traditional salt and potash products. Sustainability and environmental protection continue to be our central concerns. Our current research projects focus on new alternative uses, tailings pile and disposal concepts as well as the reduction of saline wastewater.

Research institutions and cooperation

For our Research & Development, we use our own research facilities, we cooperate in public/private partnerships, initiate research projects at higher education institutions and other research institutes, and cooperate with industrial partners.


K+S Analysis and Research Centre

The K+S Analysis and Research Centre (AFZ) in Unterbreizbach, which employs around 100 scientists, engineers and specialist staff, is K+S’s central research institute. The tasks of the AFZ include carrying out analyses, application-oriented fundamental research and process and product development for all business units of the K+S Group. All relevant analysis methods are covered from standard analysis to more complex special analysis.

Morton Salt research laboratory

Morton Salt operates a modern research and development laboratory in Elgin, Illinois, USA. Work is largely focussed on new product development in the area of Salt, the improvement of existing products by modifying the product characteristics and the search for new application options.

INNOVATION HUB

The Innovation Hub creates the best general conditions for pursuing the innovation goals in the context of optimising internal business processes, engaging in product development and establishing innovative business models. Innovation is firmly enshrined in the corporate culture as an important foundation and its orientation is further refined in accordance with customer needs. Collaborations with internal and external idea providers, entrepreneurs and start-ups are facilitated, allowing both early access to innovative ideas and accelerated implementation.

INNOLABs of K+S KALI GmbH

The Innolabs, which were set up in 2017, supplement the established Research & Development facilities. The "AgTech/Nutrition" Innolab, for example, is working on overarching questions relating to the fields of safeguarding resources, water efficiency and soil health. The "Industrial Science" Innolab is looking for new business models in the areas of health care and biochemistry.

Selected research and development projects and results

  • For our Canadian location, Bethune, various process analysis technologies were developed and are currently in operation.
  • A review is ongoing into whether processing wastewater can be disposed of in suitable pit areas as a salt solution or with the addition of suitable binding agents.
  • For the coverage of tailings piles and to reduce tailings pile water, we are performing research in the laboratory, in greenhouses and directly on the tailings piles themselves.
  • The new Kainite crystallisation and flotation plant was developed by K+S, and its large-scale commissioning has taken place. An automatic analysis system for process control was developed for this plant in the AFZ and has already been implemented. Work on the further mechanical development of the ESTA (= electrostatic separation process) separation technology was performed.

 

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