CUED Publications database

Potential reduction of carbon emissions by performance improvement: A cement industry case study

Summerbell, DL and Barlow, CY and Cullen, JM (2016) Potential reduction of carbon emissions by performance improvement: A cement industry case study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135. pp. 1327-1339.

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© 2016 The AuthorsThe cement industry is generally considered responsible for upwards of 5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This is a result of the high energy intensity of the process, significant CO2 release from the raw materials used, and large global consumption. It is also a high growth sector as emerging economies develop their infrastructure. This paper outlines an investigation into day-to-day performance variation that, if scaled to the global level, represents a potential for improvement of up to 100 Mt CO2 equivalent per year. Optimising this operational variation is not included in current roadmaps for reduction of cement industry CO2 emissions, and has the potential to be cost neutral, or even save money for cement producing companies. The paper analyses a case study of a plant in the UK, operating a pre-calciner type kiln commissioned in 1986. Production data was analysed to examine the day-to-day variation in the fuel-derived CO2 emissions, in order to estimate the potential for operational improvement. Various factors were then analysed to determine what drives this potential improvement, including fuel mix, rate of production, and process airflow. The day-to-day performance of the plant, as measured by the fuel-derived CO2 emissions per tonne of clinker produced, varied significantly. (Clinker is the material ground and mixed with ∼3% gypsum to produce cement). Improvement of the plant to 10th percentile best observed performance levels would represent a 10% drop in CO2 emissions and a 7% drop in energy consumption, with associated cost savings. Two mathematical models were used, first to examine the energy balance of the plant and then to predict CO2 emissions from given input conditions. The largest source of energy consumption was the dissociation energy required to form clinker, however, the variation in this was small. Airflow and fuel type were found to dominate the variation of performance. Optimising the factors affecting performance was predicted to reduce energy consumption by 8.5% and CO2 emissions by 19.5%. The paper concludes that there exists significant opportunity to reduce the emissions from cement plants by operational means, and that fuel mix and excess air ratio should be the focus of future research.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div E > Production Processes
Div E > Sustainable Manufacturing
Div A > Energy
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:01
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2021 06:35
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.06.155