Developing a better producing, less polluting kiln – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

The ceramics field is responsible for emitting a substantial total of greenhouse gases. To help lower the industry’s sizeable carbon footprint, a staff of EU-funded researchers and developers utilized engineering, simulations, and testing to build a a lot more successful kiln. The final result: a state-of-the-art kiln described by optimised electricity use, lowered emissions, and decreased operating expenditures.


© malp #204874730, 2020

The ceramics field plays a substantial job in the EU financial state, pushed by 17 000 companies, utilizing above 240 000 people, and producing just about EUR thirty billion in profits. Nonetheless, the field is also a massive user of electricity. In fact, producing just a single tonne of ceramic tiles calls for one.67 MWh of electricity.

Most of this electricity (55%) is utilized in the course of the firing procedure, wherever clay and glazes are introduced to a extremely high temperature. This heating is normally performed with pure gasoline which, as a fossil fuel, signifies the procedure provides a substantial total of greenhouse gases. As these gases are intensely regulated, it comes as no shock that the ceramics field has the most installations in the EU’s Emission Trading Method (ETS).  

The critical to reducing this carbon footprint is to build a a lot more successful kiln – which is precisely what the EU-funded Dream challenge has performed.

“To change the evolution of kilns in direction of a a lot more sustainable paradigm, the Dream challenge intended, made, and demonstrated a radically improved architecture for ceramic industrial furnaces,” suggests Gabriele Frignani, Head of Used Research at Sacmi, an Italy-primarily based multinational ceramics corporation, and Dream challenge coordinator. “The final result is a new, state-of-the-art kiln described by optimised electricity use, lowered emissions, and decreased operating expenditures.”  

Testing by means of engineering

Usually, the field has lowered polluting emissions by putting in a bag filter in the kiln’s exhaust chimney. Whilst this does retain emission concentrations just underneath the lawful threshold, it doesn’t protect against pollutants this kind of as nitrogen and sulphur oxides from escaping into the air. This shortcoming, alongside with the fact that acceptable emission concentrations are set to be lowered, intended a superior solution was essential.

To resolve this issue, the Dream challenge turned to engineering. The staff made and analyzed a computer software-primarily based simulation design capable of analysing all the thermal processes occurring in a kiln, together with preheating, firing, and cooling. Making use of this technique, it was not only probable to promptly determine spots of inefficiency, but also to digitally test different modifications and methods.

“These simulations help save time and expenditures in the course of the advancement period as they promptly spotlight which roads present promise and which ones in all probability direct to a useless conclusion,” points out Frignani. “This technique is specifically precious in this form of investigation challenge wherever, because of to time and price range constraints, a specific roadmap is essential.” 

For case in point, by means of the simulation workouts, it could be predicted that replacing huge turbines with micro-turbines alongside the creation line would produce a customised stage of electric power for a presented device. Not only does this get rid of the use (and squander) of extra electricity, it also lessens the time essential to restore the thermal problems immediately after electrical blackouts and will help lower a kiln’s carbon footprint.

A superior variety of kiln

Despite the positive aspects, working with simulation resources does have its boundaries. For instance, they can not predict no matter if a variation in the firing procedure will negatively have an impact on the substance itself. To fill this gap, the challenge performed industrial-stage testing, making use of its virtual design to a actual creation kiln.
“These tests conclusively showed that with our computer software, ceramic companies can get actual-time checking and the capacity to intervene directly as essential to improve the efficiency of an unique period,” points out Frignani. “The net final result is a kiln capable of producing superior whilst consuming and polluting less.”

Frignani notes that, because of to the time and financial commitment essential, this form of investigation and advancement has come to be just about unachievable for unique companies to finance – specifically within a competitive sector this kind of as ceramics. “Research assignments like Dream will engage in an significantly significant job in establishing the engineering and know-how that will allow the eco-pleasant methods of tomorrow,” he concludes.