Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, has given its approval for the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for the formulation of an exclusive subsidy policy for Urea produced through the coal gasification route by Talcher Fertilizers Limited (TFL).
- Coal gasification plants are strategically important as coal prices are non-volatile and coal is abundantly available.
What is Urea?
- Urea has important uses as a fertilizer and feed supplement, as well as a starting material for the manufacture of plastics and drugs.
- Urea is prepared commercially in vast amounts from liquid ammonia and liquid carbon dioxide.
- Because its nitrogen content is high and is readily converted to ammonia in the soil, urea is one of the most concentrated nitrogenous fertilizers.
- With formaldehyde it gives methylene–urea fertilizers, which release nitrogen slowly, continuously, and uniformly, a full year’s supply being applied at one time.
- Although urea nitrogen is in nonprotein form, it can be utilized by ruminant animals (cattle, sheep), and a significant part of these animals’ protein requirements can be met in this way.
Urea in human body
- Urea is the chief nitrogenous end product of the metabolic breakdown of proteins in all mammals and some fishes.
- The material occurs not only in the urine of all mammals but also in their blood, bile, milk, and perspiration.
- In the course of the breakdown of proteins, amino groups (NH2) are removed from the amino acids that partly comprise proteins.
- These amino groups are converted to ammonia (NH3), which is toxic to the body and thus must be converted to urea by the liver.
- The urea then passes to the kidneys and is eventually excreted in the urine.