/Integrated Solution
Integrated Solution 2017-05-26T06:35:59+00:00

Integrated Solution

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.iconoint1

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.

VULKANO will develop a novel energy recovery system which will allow integrating the furnace and its thermal flows downstream and upstream the process. The system will be based on high temperature PCM, which becomes a really interesting option to increase operation efficiency in the thermal transfer and transport within a single facility. This increase is promoted by taking advantage of latent heat instead of sensible heat. In this respect, VULKANO will provide an important progress in the knowledge of potential applications for PCM facing up with the challenge of implementing these materials at high temperature ranges

Moreover, PCM based systems have another positive effect since they ensure a constant temperature at the outlet of the system for both streams (the exhaust gases and the preheated stream). This smoothing effect allows having a higher quality signal to feed monitoring and control systems and also facilitates the design of upstream and downstream equipment and the pollutant control at the chimney8. Consequently, in this retrofitting solution, the PCM has a double purpose acting as a physical filter which is able to recover energy at the same time that smooths fluctuations in the temperature profile working similar to a low-pass filter.
VULKANO project will introduce a second energy source from renewable/alternative feedstocks with the aim to substitute the high percentage of natural gas in industrial furnaces. The use of syngas has been identified as one of the most suitable strategies to integrate retrofitting actions into industrial furnaces, as it can be mixed and complemented with natural gas.
Most of the furnaces currently used at various industrial sectors that consumes large amount of energy have some kind of control system which does not provide monitoring and an integrated control to make the transition more gradual and self-teaching. This is attributed mainly to the fact that I/O had become obsolete which leads to the existent need to retain overall control strategies and user functional knowledge of system operations. This scenario has allowed to VULKANO project to detect an undervalued potential in the existent furnaces to improve substantially quality control requirements and hence to improve decision-making by the engineers and technicians, in particular, when there are variations in furnace system inputs and quality of materials being processed in the furnaces and changes in market conditions.

This improvement can be achieved through the high degree of reliability of computer technology and programmable logic controllers which has also made process control systems as a whole more reliable. This circumstance and the fact that it is now possible to create single information space based on a local computer network connected to the furnace system, VULKANO project proposes to integrate the existing equipment by upgrading from a legacy DCS (Distributed Control System) to a new monitoring and control system platform. To this end, VULKANO project will develop systems able to execute dispatcher-level control functions using open mainline/modular subsystems, thereby, VULKANO project will resolve issues concerning to the integration between subsystems. As final outcome, the new and improved control system will directly contribute to achieve a more efficient furnace and consequently important fossil fuel savings. In addition, the whole control system will serve as guidance for replication in other similar furnaces listed in SPIRE roadmap.

VULKANO project will include the development of a powerful holistic decision support tool able to address and optimise the furnace design and its energy and environmental performance taking into account the interaction between the furnace and the (1) eco-innovative retrofitting solutions and (2) upstream/downstream processes according to LCA/LCC premises alongside the value chain. This tool will be materialized in specific software. The application of a LCA/LCC methodology requires a comprehensive characterization of the sectors involved in VULKANO, creating a cross sectorial database structure which will allow the comparison between the current state of each furnace and their expected performance once the retrofitting solutions will be applied.

In addition, concerning the replicability of the project results, VULKANO tool will be the nexus between the solutions tested and implemented during the project and their potential applicability to other melting and preheating furnaces installed not only in the sectors included in VULKANO but also in other industrial sectors