7 Uses for Granulated Potash

This article was authored by:

Chris Kozicki
Agglomeration Expert

Potash is the general name given to various inorganic compounds that contain potassium in a water-soluble form. A number of common potassium compounds exist, including potassium carbonate and potassium chloride. Before the industrial era, potash was obtained by leaching wood ashes in a pot (hence the name ‘pot-ash’). This product was used to manufacture soap, glass, and even gunpowder.

Today, deposits of potassium-bearing minerals are mined and processed to compound potash into a more usable, granular form. Astonishingly, the amount of potash produced worldwide each year exceeds 30 million tonnes. While most potash is used in various types of fertilizers, there are many other non-agricultural purposes for this element. Modern processing, such as potash pelletizing, produces a readily available form of potassium, leaving granular potash open to a myriad of uses.

Top 7 Uses for Granulated Potash:


Common Source Materials: Potassium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Sulfate…
Plants require three primary nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Potash contains soluble potassium, making it an excellent addition to agricultural fertilizer. It ensures proper maturation in a plant by improving overall health, root strength, disease resistance, and yield rates. In addition, potash creates a better final product, improving the color, texture, and taste of food.

While some potassium is returned to farmlands through recycled manures and crop residues, most of this key element must be replaced. There is no commercially viable alternative that contributes as much potassium to soil as potash, making this element invaluable to crops. For this reason, the most prevalent use of potash is in the agriculture industry. Without fertilizers assisting crop yields, scientists estimate that 33% of the world would experience severe food shortages. The replenishment of potassium to the soil is vital to supporting sustainable food sourcing. Potash granules are invaluable as a fertilizer, delivering potassium where it is needed most.

Animal Feed

Common Source Materials: Potassium Carbonate
Another agricultural use for potash (potassium carbonate) is animal feed. Potash is added as a supplement to boost the amount of nutrients in the feed, which in turn promotes healthy growth in animals. As an added benefit, it is also known to increase milk production.

Food Products

Common Source Materials: Potassium Carbonate
The food industry utilizes potash (potassium carbonate) as a general-purpose additive. In most instances, it is added as a source of food seasoning. Potash is also used in brewing beer. Historical Use: Potash was once used in German baked goods. It has properties similar to baking soda, and was used to enhance recipes such as gingerbread or lebkuchen.


Common Source Materials: Potassium Hydroxide
Caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) is a precursor to many ‘potassium soaps,’ which are softer and less common than sodium hydroxide-derived soaps. Potassium soaps have greater solubility, requiring less water to liquefy versus sodium soaps. Caustic potash is also used to manufacture detergents and dyes.

Water Softeners

Common Source Materials: Potassium Chloride
Potash (potassium chloride) is used as an environmentally friendly method of treating hard water. It regenerates the ion exchange resins more efficiently than sodium chloride, reducing the total amount of discharged chlorides in sewage or septic systems.

Deicer (Snow and Ice Melting)

Common Source Materials: Potassium Chloride
Potash (potassium chloride) is a major ingredient in deicer products that clear snow and ice from surfaces such as roads and building entrances. While other chemicals are available for this same purpose, potassium chloride holds an advantage by offering a fertilizing value for grass and other vegetation near treated surfaces.

Glass Manufacturing

Common Source Materials: Potassium Carbonate
Glass manufactures use granular potash (potassium carbonate) as a flux, lowering the temperature at which a mixture melts. Because potash confers excellent clarity to glass, it is commonly used in eyeglasses, glassware, televisions, and computer monitors.

Other Uses for Potash

In addition to the uses described above, potash also lends itself well to a variety of other applications, including aluminum recycling, explosives (in products such as fireworks and matches), and pharmaceuticals. As an essential nutrient available in a variety of compounds and flexible in application, the benefits that potash offers the modern world are nearly endless.

FEECO has been working with the various forms of potash for over 70 years, providing agglomeration and material handling equipment for potash processing facilities around the world. Additionally, the FEECO lab can test feasibility of potash granulation and agglomeration with various binders, equipment, and process variations. Contact us today for more information on granular potash!

About the Author . . .

Chris Kozicki is a Process Sales Engineer and agglomeration expert.

More About Chris

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