VULKANO project foresees a 5% of improvement in the energy efficiency of the overall process through the development and implementation of new alternative materials for high-temperature, high-alkali environments capable to operate at higher temperatures or/and for longer periods of time. This will lead to less process down time, greater energy efficiency as more heat kept in associated manufacturing processes, and materials that can be installed/repaired in a more efficient manner.
To withstand with variations in furnace operation conditions and to overcome the current challenges existing in refractories related to reparability, durability, and recyclability, it is expected to develop in this project under eco-design criteria a new family of refractories nano-bonded able to cover more efficiently the required conditions existing in the pre-heating and melting furnaces considered in the framework of the project. Beyond this goal, VULKANO project includes the use of nano-particles containing aqueous suspensions (colloidal binders) instead of more common options as nano-powers to avoid the managing of these substances which have technical and healthy handicaps and higher prices that hindrance to their industrial use.
Additionally, VULKANO project foresees the incorporation of potential by-products of combustion process, like fly ash and by-products of aluminium industry into the refractories to foster the circular economy, decreasing environmental impacts along the value chain and decreasing the initial installed cost (CAPEX) of the solution.