More than 90% of world Urea production has a target to use as a nitrogen-release fertilizer. Urea content the highest nitrogen and all solid nitrogenous fertilizers in common use. thus, it has the lowest transportation costs per unit of nitrogen nutrient.
Many soil bacteria possess the enzyme, Urease, which catalyzes the conversion of the urea molecule to two ammonia molecules and one carbon dioxide molecule, thus Urea fertilizers are transformed sharply to the ammonium form in soils.
Due to having high nitrogen concentration in Urea, it is crucial to achieving an even spread. The application equipment must be correctly calibrated and properly used.
Urea is a raw material for supplying of most main chemical compounds, namely:
- Various plastics, especially the Urea-formaldehyde resins.
- Various adhesives, like Urea-formaldehyde or the Urea-melamine formaldehyde used in marine plywood.
- Potassium cyanate, another industrial feedstock.
Urea can be used to produce Urea nitrate, a high explosive which is used industrially.
Urea is used in SNCR and SCR reactions to decrease the NOx pollutants in exhaust gases from combustion from Gas Oil, dual fuel, and lean-burn natural gas engines.
Other commercial uses
- A stabilizer in nitrocellulose explosives
- A component of animal feed, providing a relatively cheap source of nitrogen to promote growth
- An ingredient in many tooth whitening products
- An ingredient in dish soap
- Along with ammonium phosphate, as a yeast nutrient, for fermentation of sugars into ethanol
- A nutrient used by plankton in ocean nourishment experiments for geoengineering purposes
- As an additive to extend the working temperature and open time of hiding glue
- As a solubility-enhancing and moisture-retaining additive to dye baths for textile dyeing or printing
Urea in concentrations up to 10 M is a powerful protein denaturant as it disrupts the noncovalent bonds in the proteins. This property can be exploited to increase the solubility of some proteins. Urea and choline chloride together is useful to use as a deep eutectic solvent, a type of ionic liquid.
Urea can assume as a hydrogen source for subsequent power generation in fuel cells. Urea present in urine/wastewater would be used directly (though bacteria normally quickly degrade Urea.) Producing hydrogen by electrolysis of Urea solution occurs at a lower voltage (0.37V) and consumes less energy compared with the electrolysis of water (1.2V).
Urea-containing creams are used as topical dermatological products to promote rehydration of the skin. Urea 40% is indicated for psoriasis, xerosis, onychomycosis, ichthyosis, eczema, keratosis, keratoderma, corns, and calluses. If using an occlusive dressing, 40% Urea preparations can be used for nonsurgical debridement of nails.
Urea injection is highly beneficial to perform abortions like saline.
Urea labeled with carbon-14 or carbon-13 is used in the breath test of Urea, that is used to detect the presence of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in the stomach and duodenum of humans, associated with peptic ulcers. The test proves that characteristic enzyme Urease, produced by H. pylori, a reaction that supply ammonia from Urea. This increases the pH (reduces acidity) of the stomach environment around the bacteria. Similar bacteria species to H. pylori would be illustrated by the same test in animals namely apes, dogs, and big cats.