Sixteen years ago CHS in Winona, Minnesota, needed fertilizer storage with flexibility. Between 2001 and 2014 the company repeatedly contracted with Dome Technology as storage needs grew, resulting in five domes.
“This is a good example of a repeat customer. Those domes were built over a period of about 10 years; as they grew and needed more facility, they came back to us,” said Dome Technology project manager Darryl Cunningham.
Client requests + customization
Because CHS stores various NPK fertilizers like urea, potash, diammonium phosphate, and monoammonium phosphate, the type of stored product changes regularly. Regardless of the type, the domes’ corrosion resistance suits them well for storing fertilizer.
“Fertilizer is typically very corrosive and caustic, and so with the domes being concrete, they offer a long-term storage solution,” Cunningham said. That longevity has proved an asset to the company so far, Winona River and Rail terminal manager Rob Gonzales said.
Throughput speed is another plus. Weigh hoppers attached to the domes allow product to be loaded onto a truck without heading to a separate scale first—that means “we can load a truck in five minutes,” Gonzales said.
Meeting customer expectations
A major dome advantage is capacity; according to Gonzales, CHS operates some shingle-roofed storage structures that can only be filled to a certain point before the roof is compromised. “(Domes) work well just because you don’t have to worry about the structure,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about the structure of the building being affected by the load of the fertilizer.”