The project DAPHNE (Development of adaptive production systems for eco-efficient firing processes) was set up to explore energy-saving solutions for the ceramics, glass and cement industries by substituting high-temperature heating with microwave technology. Project partners developed smart monitoring and control solutions to provide real-time information on energy consumption and product quality on the basis of key performance indicators. They designed, tested and demonstrated solutions based on the self-adaptive control of a high-temperature microwave system and the active control of production lines, which incorporated the proposed microwave solutions. Researchers first produced a lab-scale prototype and then a semi-industrial prototype with two different modules for processing five target materials: ceramic frits, clinker, slag cement, metakaolin and glass. The challenge was to reduce energy consumption by 40 % whilst achieving high productivity with less environmental impacts by reducing process emissions to below prescribed limits. Work conducted by DAPHNE is particularly relevant to energy research, smart energy networks, and energy efficiency and saving. As well as reducing the need for energy it also encourages recycling, reducing demands for raw materials and their transport, and lower carbon dioxide emissions. The project's outcomes will therefore help to bring about a radical reduction in total energy demand, thereby supporting the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the Energy Efficiency Plan 2011.
Ceramics, glass, cement, microwave heating, firing process, DAPHNE, energy consumption